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ACCOUNT OF MOTHER SAWYER, THE WITCH OF EDMONTON. Extracted from Mr. ROBINSON'S " History of Edmonton;" reviewed in p. 44.
[This wood-cut is from a rare print in the collection of W. Beckford, esq. and is kindly lent to us by Mr. Robinson.]
" EDMONTON furnished the stage with another drama, called The Witch of Edmonton. The scene was laid in the town and neighbourhood of Edmonton. This tragedy, which was founded upon the history of an unfortunate old woman, who was condemned and executed for witchcraft in the year 1621, was not published until 1658, when it appeared in quarto, with the following title, The Witch of Edmonton, a known true story; composed into a Tragi-comedy by divers well esteemed poets,' &c. Acted by the Prince's servants often at the Cockpit in Drury, once at Court with singular applause, &c. There is a curious wood cut on the titlepage, representing on the right an old woman, with the following words on a label from her mouth: Sanctabecetur nomen tuum;' and over the head Mother Sawyer:' on the left a black dog, uttering these words, which are also on a label, Ho! haue I found thee cursing?' below,
"This was a favourite disguise of the Devil in iis intercourse with Witches. See the Wonderful Discoverie of Witches in the county of Lancaster, 1613. Somers' Tracts, 1810."
the clown Cuddy. Banks in the water crying out Help! help! I am drowned, and his name over his head. The prologue began thus :
"The town of Edmonton bath lent the
A Devil and a Witch, both in an age;
"Elizabeth Sawyer was a poor woman, that in the superstitious reign of James the First, probably incurred the displeasure of some more potent neighbour, who, having no just cause of complaint to allege against her, accused her of witchcraft. a crime that of all others, was at
+ "This is an allusion to the popular play of the Merry Devil of Edmontou, which was founded on the History of Peter Fabell, who died about the year 1495." (See p. 45)
$ "In the days of the sapient James I. witchcraft, by his own royal example, was become the subject of many publications; and supposed witches were hunted down without mercy in every quarter of the kingdom."
this period, most dreaded; very little time was allowed between the accusation, condemnation, and death of a suspected witch; and if a voluntary confession was wanting, they never failed extorting a forced one, by tormenting the suspected person. The following title is prefixed to a quarto pamphlet, printed in London, in the year 1621:- The Wonderful Discovery of Elizabeth Sawyer, a Witch, late ' of Edmonton, her Conviction, Condemnation, and Death; together with the Relation of the Devil's Access to her, and their Conference together: written by Henry Goodcole, Minister of the Word of God, and her continual visitor in the Goale of Newgate.'*
REMARKS ON THE COINAGE.
(Concluded from p. 17.)
Jun. 9. N 1799, the Committee not being prepared with any devices for the improvement of the Coins, it was with great propriety ordered that the coinage of silver should be stopped. This was done that individuals might not receive that advantage which the low price of silver bullion then af forded, but which the Committee was not ready with any plan to give the Government a share of with them,
The Lords of the Committee of Council, with a truly laudable zeal for the improvement of the Coins, having expressed a wish to receive designs from eminent Artists, a circular letter was issued by the Royal Academy to its Members. In consequence several of the Academiciaus sent in drawings or models, but they unhappily did not fall in with the taste of the Committee, which, in course, took no notice either of them or of the Academicians t. The sale and exportation of guineas, which so forcibly proved the soundness of the principle on which they were coined, was stopped in the year 1811, by a statute for that purpose, the Act of 5 and 6 of Edward VI. having been
evaded by giving for them Bank Notes, instead of coined money.
Such was the confidence reposed in this new Statute, that a coinage of gold, at the usual weight, was issued in 1813, and the same weight was continued in an indenture between the King and the Right Hon. Wm. Wellesley Pole, which bore date ou the 30th of Sept. 1814, and when the Committee of Council for Coins resumed its deliberations, in 1816, after the return of peace, it with great propriety recommended, in a Report to the Prince Regent, the inviolable preservation of that weight for the gold coins, whilst the silver should be reduced from 62 shillings the Pound to 66, according to the provisions of a statute, 56 Geo. III. chap. 68.
In consequence a Silver Coinage was formed in 1817, and guarded by a new-invented graining on the edge, but so superior is the activity of wickedness to that of honesty, that counterfeits were delivered without the walls of the Bank, whilst the genuine coins were issuing within.
The Statute having very wisely continued the weight of gold coins at the old standard, a new coinage was issued of pieces at 20s. each, under the denomination of Sovereigns. The issuing continued about twelve months: long enough to dispose of all the Sovereigns which had been issued for the convenience of the neighbouring States, to which they were exported, and which kindly condescended to receive them.
The Bauk then, being ignorant of the true principles of Coinage, by which the weight of these pieces had been determined, unwisely stopped the issue of them, and thus deprived our Mint of the glory of supplying other Mints with money free of the expence of coinage.
The last numismatic event which is recorded in the Annals of Coinage,
"See Caulfield's Portraits, Memoirs, and Characters of Remarkable Persons, from Edward III. to the Revolution, vol. I. p. 70."
The Society for the Encouragement of Arts, &c. having contracted a habit of distributing rewards, did, in 1761, give twenty guineas to Mr. J. Meyers for the best drawing and likeness of the King in profile for the Die of a Guinea; but the example of mechanicks was not, I presume, fit for imitation.
Numismatists who had been accustomed to see the Sovereign, as an English Coin, with the representation of the Monarch seated on his Throne as a Sovereign, admired the type of these Coins which, economically putting the most noble part for the whole, gave the Bust only in profile, without any ensigns of sovereignty.
is the striking of crown pieces, the first in the reign of George III.
Of this event I know not how to speak in appropriate terms. According to the former ideas of Coinage, the pieces should be considered as money, intended for circulation and use, but from the careful manner in which each of them was put up before the issuing, it should seem that the Mint rather regarded them as medals, to be preserved in the cabinets of the curious.
Beyond the extent of the "Annals of Coinage," and, in course, not noticed there, is a project for gold coins, (if coins they may be called) of at least 60 ounces each, which the Bank is to give in exchange for its Notes, until the resumption of Cash Payments at a certain period.
This plan has, as I conceive, some marks of peculiar propriety.
As the first of these hardy pieces is to be exchanged at the rate of 41. Is. per ounce, it is probable that not one of them will ever be called for: and as the last are to be given by the Bank at the Mint price of gold, whatever the value in the market may be, the probability is, that another restrictive Bill may be found necessary, and the Report, which established such payments, will become, what it is already very nearly, mere waste paper.
Now, Mr. Urban, who, with all these interesting facts before him, will presume to assert that the theory and the practice of Coinage have not been improved upon during the reign of George the Third? Have we not silver coins of such exquisite beauty, that Artists could not refrain from the imitation of them, even before they were publickly issued ?
Have we not gold coins so precious, that the Bank is obliged to lock them in its coffers, lest foreign nations should rob us of them?
And have we not a possibility of Coins, such as no people upon earth had ever the ability to strike before? Coins of gold of at least five pounds weight. A size so convenient for the use of the poor, and so little cumbersome to the pockets of the rich!
I could occupy several of your columus, Mr. Urban, with their appropriate panegyrick, but I have already trespassed too much upon you, and therefore shall conclude. Yours, &c.
·་ To THE COUNTESS OF
MADAM, your Ladyship appears
to be so anxious to obtain
from me every information in my power concerning my friend the Persian, that I have just thrown together such matters as, I trust, will in some measure, satisfy your curiosity.
"I lament that it is not in my power to do more, but such as it is, it is much at your Ladyship's service, to dispose of as you may think fit. I have the honour to be, your-Ladyship's very devoted humble Servant, RADSTOCK.
"Portland-place, Jan. 10, 1810."
"ABOUL HASSAN is in person above the common stature, and this is in no small
degree increased by a high cap covered with a shawl, and heels a full inch and a half high. He is about 35 years of age. His features are perfectly regular; his eyes have a peculiar softness in them, though sometimes animated to the highest degree; his nose aquiline, his teeth the most regular and beautiful imaginable, and his profile as fine as the pencil could trace. His countenance is open and full of candour, and when in its natural state is no less mild than dignified. When conversing and highly pleased, it has a sweetness that nothing can exceed; and when animated by argument, it bespeaks a soul replete with energy, and a depth of understanding rarely to be met with. His and as engaging as can be conceived, manoers are truly captivating, graceful, whilst, at the same time, they are such as ever to command respect, and remind even his very intimates, that he is the representative of a great monarch. I have visited the Ambassador every day since his arrival, excepting one, when in the evening he told Mr. James Morier that his heart was sick, as he had not seen his friend Lord Radstock during the whole day.' I sometimes call upon him twice a day, and have dined with him five times. A few days ago he gave us a grand dinner, at which were present, Lord Winchilsea, Lord Teignmouth, General
Grenville, Sir Gore Quseley, Mr. Vaughan, and four or five others. Sir Gore Ouseley sat at the head of the table, and the Mirza on his left, it being the side near the fire. Nothing could surpass the grace and ease with which he did the honours of the entertainment: I do not mean as to attending to his guests eating and drinking, but to the general tenor of his conduct and behaviour, and unceasing complacency towards them. He drank but one glass of wine at dinner, and none after, although he acknowledged he liked wine, and we kept our seats little short of three hours. This act of his forbearance and abstaining, from religious motives, might have served as a lesson to his Christian guests ;—but bere candour bids me own they seemed by no means inclined to follow so excellent an example, though certainly nothing like excess was committed: I merely men. tion the circumstance as comparative, and offering a sort of contrast. When the conversation was serious, the Mirza's attention, questions, and replies, alike bespoke a refined and superior understanding; and when jocose, he displayed his perfect knowledge of repartee, and was all life and merriment. The company were highly pleased, as you will believe, and it was really no easy matter to say in which of the above opposite characters this amiable Asiatic shone most conspicuous. His mind appears to be as po. lished as are his manners, and, though he is, as might be expected, utterly ignorant of European Literature, Sir Gore Ouseley says, that he has a perfect knowledge of that of his own country, as he often quotes historical facts relative to Persia, and occasionally cites Hafiz, Sadi, and others of their most celebrated poets. I accompanied His Excellency the other night to the opera for the second time, and I will throw together, promiscuously as they may occur, his observations and remarks, so far as they came within my knowledge; for not understanding the language, you may readily suppose, how much of what he says escapes me. The Ambassador was received at the King's door, and with the same ceremony as if he had been of the blood royal. This marked attention pleas ed him much, and he expressed his gratitude with much seeming warmth. appeared to be but little struck with the beauty or grandeur of the Theatre, and to my surprise, held the dancing very cheap. He laughed heartily at the folly of bringing forward Peter the Great and his Empress as dancing to divert the throng. What! exclaimed he, is it possible that a mighty monarch and his queen should expose themselves thus ? how absurd! how out of nature! how perfectly ridiculous! Were I to translate the look that followed these words,
it would be thus: Surely a nation that can suffer so childish and preposterous an exhibition, and be pleased with it, can have little pretensions either to taste or judgment.' Soon after, he jokingly said, When I get back to my own country, the King shall ask me, What did the English do to divert you?' I'will answer, Sir, they brought before me your Majesty's great enemies, the Emperor and Empress of Russia, and made them dauce for my amusement.' This he repeated with the highest glee, as if couscious of saying a witty thing. He possesses much feeling. As a proof of this, he was so affected with a pathetic scene, representing a king and queen with their children in chains, and in a dungeon, (in which, by the bye, there is the finest acting I almost ever beheld,) that the tears ran down his cheeks during the whole of the performance. When I complimented him the next day on this display of his feelings, he instantly replied, Who could have done otherwise on beholding a king and queen, and their children, in such a complicated scene of misery and distress?' And at the end of the comic opera, at which he often laughed heartily, I asked him which he liked best, the serious or the comic opera? Without a moment's hesitation he replied, the serious, when I am inclined to cry and the comic, when I am in a humour to laugh.'
"I forgot to mention a laughable observation he made the other night during the grand ballet. He asked Sir G. Ouseley what the Empress was going to da with the great chest and the casket which her slaves were carrying? Sir G. Ouseley replied, that she was going to endeavour to bribe the Pasha to sign a truce and withdraw his troops. Is that it ?! cries the Mirza, then I'll auswer for her success; for those fellows, the Turks, would even sell their father, could they gain a piastre by it.' He appears to despise and detest the Turks as much as possible. He told the Turkish Ambassador the other morning, when I was present, that he would carry him to the opera, where he should first see the Grand Visir dance, and then sell his country. The stupid Turk bowed, and seemed very thankful, receiving the speech as a compliment. I will now give you a proof of the Mirza's readiness at reply. This I ought to have told you before, but you must take things just as chance brings them to my recollection. When at the private audience with his Persian Majesty, the King said, Sir G. Ouseley, you seem to speak Persian quite fluently.". Before the Baronet had time to reply, the Mirza answered, better than I, sir.' This I had from the Ambassador himself, and it afterwards was confirmed to me by Sir G. Ouseley.
Ouseley. This man's mind seems to be ever on the stretch, and filled with interesting and important objects only. His mission is, consequently, the primary one; his next is, the attainment of useful knowledge. His questions and answers are endless, when food for an inquisitive and reflecting mind presents itself; but they are ever to the purpose, scarcely any thing frivolous escapes him, though at times, particularly st table, no one seems to enjoy pleasantry more, even to playfulness. He knows not only bow to time a joke, but he can take one with the same good breeding; never saying or doing that which can distress others, or even appearing confounded or abashed, by the lively little sallies which he seems even to court, to promote convivial mirth. I was told the other day, that when he dined at Lord Wellesley's, a rallying scene passed between them that would have done credit to our most refined wits.
"The objects which hitherto seem to bave made the strongest impressions on the Mirza's mind are Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals, the Bank, St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey, and Westminster Bridge. He desired to have the exact dimensions of the latter, but the fogs and damp weather have hitherto prevented him seeing any external objects with pleasure and satisfaction. He was highly delighted with his reception, both at the India House and Bank; at both which places he was received in a truly magnificent style. He conversed with the Governor of the Bank for nearly half an hour, and nothing could be more pertiment thau all his questions were. He then visited the several rooms, and saw and had explained to him the mode of carrying on the business. On observing the ingenuity and facility of striking off the one-pound notes, he asked-'Is this man paid by the day, or for the number which he produces? By the day.' 'But I suppose he is compelled to strike a cectain number? Yes; but on emergencies, when more are required, they work longer and are paid extra wages.' 'Those are very wise regulations, for they encourage industry, whilst they are a check upon idleness.'
"Last Sunday evening the Mirza sent a message to Mrs. Morier, requesting that she would permit him to pay her a visit. This being accepted, he shortly after made his appearance, and remained with her and her family and myself nearly two hours. On enquiring what were the books he saw upon the table, he was informed that they were the Bible and some books of sermons. He then desired to have explained to him the nature of the latter, and seemed to approve much the GENT. MAG. February, 1820.
study of such books on days set apart for devotion. The Miss Moriers then sang an hymn to him, without telling him what was the nature of the music. When they had ended he thanked them, adding, I am sure that must be sacred music, it affected me so very much.' He said that among the many of our customs which he approved, he admired none more than that, of not suffering the servants to remain in the room, when they were not wanted. He added, that he was endeavouring to introduce this excellent custom into his own house, and for that purpose he was for ever driving his servants out of the room, but they returned like flies, in spite of all he could do. I never beheld him in such high spirits and so merry as he was during that whole evening.
"Every thing seemed to conspire to please him; the smallness and neatness of the house gave him an idea of comfort he had never experienced before. He repeated more than once, What could any person in the world wish for more than you have bere?' Mrs. Morier shewed him a miniature of one of her daughters when a child. This delighted him so much that Mrs. M. begged he would accept it. He was so pleased with this present that he would not part with it for a moment during the rest of the evening; but kept stroking it with his hands, as if it had been a favourite little animal. He is uncommonly fond of. children, and the younger they are the more be likes them. The first time he saw my youngest daughter, who is eleven years of age, he seemed quite enchanted with her, and made her sit by him the whole evening, when she was not dancing. He afterwards saw a little girl of Mr. Elliot's, who is not yet six years of age, and he seemed still more delighted with her, if possible, than he was with my daughter. I asked him at what age girls were married in Persia"? he said, about sixteen.' I remarked, that in India they married at a much younger age; he replied, it was true, but in Persia they liked children as children, but women as wives.' He has but one wife, which he says is enough for any man, adding,
that there can be no good or use in having more.' The first time he heard my daughters sing a trio, he was much struck with it, saying, this music quite delights me, but at the same time it puzzles me beyond measure, for, though I can plainly discover that all of them are singing in different tones, yet it seems to produce but one sound; all is in unison, as if their very souls understood each other.'
"I find I have been throwing all these little