網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

a

[ocr errors]

time it was simply an undemonstrative poor creature hanged. The excited Mather belief, but at length it assumed an active (who was ridiculed by unbelievers) preachfeature in society in Massachusetts, as it ed a sermon against witchcraft, crying was encouraged by some of the clergy, from the pulpit, with arms extended, whose influence was almost omnipotent. Witchcraft is the most nefarious highBefore 1688 four persons accused of witch- treason against the Majesty on high. A craft had suffered death in the vicinity witch is not to be endured in heaven of Boston. The first was Margaret Jones, or on earth.” His sermon was printed of Charlestown, hanged in 1648. In 1656, and scattered broadcast among the peoAnn Hibbens, sister of Governor Belling. ple, and bore terrible fruit not long afterham, of Massachusetts, was accused of wards. being a witch, tried by a jury, and found In 1692 an epidemic disease broke out guilty. The magistrates refused to accept in Danvers resembling epilepsy. The phy. the verdict, and the case was carried to sicians could not control it, and, with the General Court, where a majority of Mather's sermon before them, they readthat body declared her guilty, and she was ily ascribed it to witchcraft. A niece and hanged. In 1688 a young girl in Danvers daughter of the parish clergyman were (a part of Salem ) accused a maid-servant seized with convulsions and swelling of of theft. The servant's mother, a “wild the throat, and all the symptoms produced Irishwoman” and a Roman Catholic, declared with vehemence that the charge was false, whereupon the accuser, out of revenge, accused the Irish woman of having bewitched her. Some of the girl's family joined in the accusation and assisted her in her operations. They would alternately become deaf, dumb, and blind; bark like dogs and purr like cats; but none of them lost their appetite or needed sleep. by hysterics. Their strange actions fright

Rev. Cotton Mather—a superstitious, ened other young girls. A belief that evil credulous, and egotistical clergyman; a spirits in the form of witches were permitfirm believer in witchcraft, and who be- ted to afflict the people was soon widelieved America was originally peopled with spread, and terror took possession of their “a crew of witches transported hither by minds, and held it for about six months. the devil ”—hastened to Danvers, with oth- The “victims” pretended to see their torer clergymen as superstitious as himself, mentors with their “inner vision,” and spending a whole day there in fasting and forthwith they would accuse some old or prayer, and so controlled the devil, he said, ill-favored woman of bewitching them. At who would allow the poor victims to “read length the “afflicted” and the accused beQuaker books, the Common Prayer, and came so numerous that no person was popish books,” but not the Bible. Mather safe from suspicion and its consequences. and his associates were satisfied that the During the prevalence of this terrible deIrish woman was a witch, and these holy lusion, in the spring and summer of 1692, men had the satisfaction of seeing the nineteen persons were hanged; one was

[graphic]

THE HOUSE OF A SUPPOSED WITCH.

[graphic][merged small]

on

a

killed by the horrible punishment of press- of being a witch. The sons of ex-Governor ing to death; fifty-five were frightened Bradstreet were compelled to flee to avoid or tortured into a confession of guilt; 150 the perils of false accusations; near relawere imprisoned, and fully 200 were named tives of Mather were imprisoned on simias worthy of arrest. Among those hanged lar charges. was Rev. Mr. Burroughs, an exemplary When the magnates in Church and State clergyman, whose purity of character was found themselves in danger they suspectconspicuous.

ed they had been acting unrighteously Malice, rapacity, and revenge often im- towards others, and cautiously expressed pelled persons to accuse others who were doubts of the policy of further proceedings innocent; and when some statement of the against accused persons, for they rememaccused would move the court and au- bered that they had caused a constable dience in favor of the prisoner, the accuser who had arrested many, and refused to would solemnly declare that he saw the arrest any more, to be hanged. A citizen devil standing beside his victim whisper- of Andover who was accused, wiser and ing his touching words in his or her ear. bolder than the magistrates and clergy, And the absurd statement would be be- caused the arrest of his accuser lieved by the judges on the bench. Some, charge of defamation of character, and terrified, and with the hope of saving their laid his damages at £1,000. The public lives or avoiding the horrors of imprison- mind was in sympathy with him. The ment, would falsely accuse their friends spell was instantly broken, and at a conand kinsfolk; while others, moved by the vention of clergymen they declared it was same instinct and hopes, would falsely not inconsistent with Scripture to believe confess themselves witches. Neither age, that the devil might "assume the shape sex, nor condition was spared. Finally of a good man, and that so he may have Sir William Phipps (the governor of Mas- deceived the afflicted.” Satan, as usual, sachusetts, who had instituted the court was made the scape-goat for the sins for the trial of witches), his lieutenant, and follies of magistrates, clergy, and peo

near relatives of Cotton Mather, ple. Many of the accusers came forward and learned and distinguished men who and published solemn recantations or dehad promoted the delusion by acquiescing nials of the truth of their testimony, in the proceedings against accused per- which had been given, they said, to save sons, became objects of suspicion. The their lives. governor's wife, Lady Phipps, one of the The legislature of Massachusetts appurest and best of women was accused pointed a general fast and supplication,

some

** that God would pardon all the errors remained in Donne Castle until the batof his servants and people in a late trag- tle of Culloden. While settled at Paisley edy raised among them by Satan and his he was called (1767) to the presidency of instruments,” and Judge Sewall, who had the College of New Jersey, at Princeton, presided at many trials in Salem, stood and was inaugurated in August, 1768. up in his place in the church on that He had already written and published fast-day and implored the prayers of the several works, and had acquired a fine people that the errors which he had com- reputation for scholarship. Under his mitted "might not be visited by the judg- administration the college flourished, fiments of an avenging God on his country, nancially and otherwise. He was not only his family, and himself.” The parish president, but was Professor of Divinity; minister at Danvers in whose family the also pastor of the Presbyterian church * affliction ” started, and who was zealous at Princeton. At the beginning of the in promoting the prosecutions, was com- Revolution the college was for a time pelled to leave the country. The credu- broken up, when President Witherspoon lous Mather still believed in witches, and assisted in the patriotic political movewrote in support of the belief. He was

He also assisted in framing a thoroughly ridiculed by unbelievers, one State constitution for New Jersey, and of whom he dismissed by calling him went as a delegate to Congress in time to “a coal from hell," and suing him for advocate and sign the Declaration of Inslander.

dependence. For six years he This episode in the history of Massa- punctual attendant of Congress, serving chusetts is known as · Salem Witchcraft.” faithfully on important committees. He It astonished the civilized world, and made was a member of the secret committee

ments.

was

a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

an unfavorable impression on the sur- and of the board of war. In Congress rounding Indians. The Jesuit mission- he opposed the repeated issues of paper aries took advantage of it to contrast their money, and he wrote and published much cwn mild religious system with the cruel on the topics of the time. In 1783 he exhibitions of that of the Puritans, whose went to England to collect funds for the ministers had been so prominent in the college. He died near Princeton, N. J., fearful tragedy.

Sept. 15, 1794. Witherspoon, John, signer of the Woedtyke, FREDERICK WILLIAM, BARON Declaration of Independence; born in De, military officer; born in Prussia about Gifford, Scotland, Feb. 5, 1722; was 1740: served for many years in the army lineal descendant of John Knox. Edu- of Frederick the Great, attaining the rank cated at the University of Edinburgh, he of major; came to the United States with was licensed to preach at twenty-one. letters of recommendation; settled in When the Young Pretender landed in Eng. Philadelphia; and was made brigadierland young Witherspoon marched at the general, March 16, 1776, and ordered to head of a corps of militia to join him. join the Northern army. He took part He was taken prisoner at Falkirk, and in the engagement at Crown Point; and

a

[ocr errors]

died near Lake George, N. Y., July 31, when he was appointed United States eir1776.

cuit judge. In 1802 he engaged in merWolcott, EDWARD OLIVER, legislator; cantile business in New York City, in born in Longmeadow, Mass., March 26, which he continued until the breaking 1818; studied at Yale College; was gradu- out of the War of 1812-15, when, with his ated at the Harvard Law School in 1871, son, he established an extensive manufacand began practising in Denver, Col., tory of textile goods at Wolcottville, where he became interested in silver min- Conn. He was governor of Connecticut ing; and was United States Senator from in 1818–27. He died in New York City, Colorado in 1889-1901.

June 1, 1833. Wolcott, OLIVER, signer of the Dec- Wolcott, Roger, colonial governor; laration of Independence; born in Wind- born in Windsor, ('onn., Jan. 4, 1679; was sor, Conn., Nov. 26, 1726i; graduated at apprenticed to a mechanie at the age of Yale College in 1747; began studying med- twelve years. By industry and economy icine, but on being appointed sheriff of he afterwards acquired a competent fortLitchfield county, in 1751, he abandoned une. In the expedition against Canada it. He was in the council twelve years in 1711 he was commissary of the Connec(1774-86); also a major-general of mili- tieut forces, and had risen to major-gentia, and judge of the county court of eral in 17+5, when he was second in comcommon pleas and of probate. In 1775 mand at the capture of Louisburg. He Congress appointed him a commissioner was afterwards, successively, a legislator, of Indian affairs to secure the neutrality county judge, chief-justice of the Supreme of the Six Nations, and he became a mem- Court, and governor (1751-54). In 1725 ber of Congress in January, 1776. After he published Poetical Meditations, and he the Declaration of Independence he re. left a long manuscript poem descriptive turned to Connecticut, invested with the of the Pequod War, which is preserved in command of the militia intended for the the collections of the Connecticut Histori. defence of New York, and in November cal Society. He died in Windsor, Conn., resumed his seat in Congress. Late in the May 17, 1767. summer of 1777 he joined the army under Wolfe, JAMES, military officer; born in Gates with several hundred volunteers, and Westerham, Kent, England, Jan. 2, 1727; assisted in the capture of Burgoyne and distinguished himself in the army when he his army. On the field of Saratoga he was was only twenty years of age; and was made a brigadier-general in the Conti- quartermaster-general in the expedition mental service. In 1786 he was chosen against Rochefort in 1757. At the second lieutenant - governor of Connecticut, and capture of Louisburg by the English, in served in that capacity ten years, when 1758, he acquired such fame that Pitt he was elected governor. He died in placed him at the head of the expedition Litchfield, Conn., Dec. 1, 1797.

against Quebec in 1759, with the rank of Wolcott, OLIVER, financier: born in major-general, though only thirty-three Litchfield, Conn., Jan. 11, 1760; a son of years of age. On the evening of Sept. 12, the preceding; graduated at Yale College Wolfe, who had just recovered from a in 1778, and was a volunteer to repel the serious attack of fever, embarked with his British and Hessian marauders on the main army on the St. Lawrence, above Connecticut coast towns in 1779. He be. Point Levi, and floated up the river with came a volunteer aide to his father, and the Hood-tide. He was preparing for an was afterwards a commissary officer. Ad- attack upon the French the next day. mitted to the bar in 1781, he was employed The evening was warm and starlit. Wolfe in the financial affairs of Connecticut; was in better spirits than usual, and at and in 1784 was appointed a commission- the evening mess, with a ss of wine in er to settle its accounts with the United his hand, and by the light of a lantern, he States. He was comptroller of national sang the little campaign song beginning: accounts in 1788–89, auditor of the Unit

" Why, soldiers, why ed States treasury from 1789 to 1791,

Should we be melancholy, boys? comptroller from 1791 to 1795, and Sec

Why. soldiers, why, retary of the Treasury from 1795 to 1800,

Whose business 'tis to die?"

[ocr errors]

But the cloud of a gloomy presentiment of victory of the English fell upon his al-
soon overcast his spirits, and at past mid- most unconscious ears.
night, when the heavens were hung with “ Woman Order," THE, an order issued
black clouds, and the boats were floating by General Butler, in New Orleans, which
silently back with the tide to the intended produced wide-spread indignation through-
landing-place at the chosen ascent to the out the Confederacy. Many of the women

in New Orleans, it was al-
leged, openly insulted the
National officers and soldiers
in the street by words and
actions, and would leave
street-cars and church-pews
whenever Union officers en-
tered them. Finally, it was
alleged, a woman spat in
the face of two officers who
were walking peaceably
along the street. General
Butler, to arrest the grow-
ing evil, issued an order
(May 15, 1862) intended to
work silently, peacefully,
and effectually. It was as
follows: “ As the officers and
soldiers of the United States
have been subject to repeat-
ed insults from the women
(calling themselves ladies )
of New Orleans, in return
for the most scrupulous non-
interference and courtesy on
our part, it is ordered that
hereafter, when any female
shall, by word, gesture, or
movement, insult or show
contempt for any officer or
soldier of the United States,
she shall be regarded and

held liable to be treated as (From a portrait by Schaak, in the National Portrait Gallery, London.)

a woman of the town plying

her a vocation.” The conPlains of Abraham, he repeated in a low duct was not afterwards repeated. The tone, to the officers around him, this “ order was misrepresented in every touching stanza of Gray's Elegy in a form, but sensible women acknowledged Country Church-yard :

its justice. General Butler received from

the Confederates the name of " Butler the “ The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, Beast.” President Davis issued a proclaAnd all that beauty, all that wealth e'er

mation (Dec. 26, 1862), in which he progave, Await alike the inevitable hour

nounced Butler to be a felon, deserving The paths of glory lead but to the grave." of capital punishment,” and ordered that

he should not be “treated simply as a “Now, gentlemen," said Wolfe, “I public enemy of the Confederate States would rather be the author of that poem of America, but as an outlaw and common than the possessor of the glory of beating enemy of mankind; and that, in the event the French to-morrow." He was killed the of his capture, the officer in command of next day, and expired just as the shouts the capturing force do cause him to be im

431

[graphic]

GKXERAL JAMES WOLFE.

66

« 上一頁繼續 »