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[259]
spirits that live throughout,
     Vital in every part, not as frail man,—

encountered their enemies with weapons forged by the stern spiritual armorer of Geneva. The life of Cotton Mather is as full of romance as the legends of Ariosto or the tales of Beltenebros and Florisando in Amadis de Gaul. All about him was enchanted ground; devils glared on him in his ‘closet wrestlings;’ portents blazed in the heavens above him; while he, commissioned and set apart as the watcher, and warder, and spiritual champion of ‘the chosen people,’ stood ever ready for battle, with open eye and quick ear for the detection of the subtle approaches of the enemy. No wonder is it that the spirits of evil combined against him; that they beset him as theydid of old St. Anthony; that they shut up the bowels of the General Court against his long-cherished hope of the presidency of Old Harvard; that they even had the audacity to lay hands on his antidiabolical manuscripts, or that ‘ye divil that was in ye girl flewe at and tore’ his grand sermon against witches. How edifying is his account of the young bewitched maiden whom he kept in his house for the purpose of making experiments which should satisfy all ‘obstinate Sadducees’! How satisfactory to orthodoxy and confounding to heresy is the nice discrimination of ‘ye divil in ye girl,’ who was choked in attempting to read the Catechism, yet found no trouble with a pestilent Quaker pamphlet;1 who was quiet and good-humored when

1 The Quakers appear to have, at a comparatively early period, emancipated themselves in a great degree from the grosser superstitions of their times. William Penn, indeed, had a law in his colony against witchcraft; but the first trial of a person suspected of this offence seems to have opened his eyes to its absurdity. George Fox, judging from one or two passages in his journal, appears to have held the common opinions of the day on the subject; yet when confined in Doomsdale dungeon, on being told that the place was haunted and that the spirits of those who had died there still walked at night in his room, he replied, ‘that if all the spirits and devils in hell were there, he was over them in the power of God, and feared no such thing.’

The enemies of the Quakers, in order to account for the power and influence of their first preachers, accused them of magic and sorcery. ‘The Priest of Wakefield,’ says George Fox (one trusts he does not allude to our old friend the Vicar), ‘raised many wicked slanders upon me, as that I carried bottles with me and made people drink, and that made them follow me; that I rode upon a great black horse, and was seen in one county upon my black horse in one hour, and in the same hour in another county fourscore miles off.’ In his account of the mob which beset him at Walney Island, he says: ‘When I came to myself I saw James Lancaster's wife throwing stones at my face, and her husband lying over me to keep off the blows and stones; for the people had persuaded her that I had bewitched her husband.’

Cotton Mather attributes the plague of witchcraft in New England in about an equal degree to the Quakers and Indians. The first of the sect who visited Boston, Ann Austin and Mary Fisher, —the latter a young girl,—were seized upon by DeputyGover-nor Bellingham, in the absence of Governor Endicott, and shamefully stripped naked for the purpose of ascertaining whether they were witches with the Devil's mark on them. In 1662 Elizabeth Horton and Joan Broksop, two venerable preachers of the sect, were arrested in Boston, charged by Governor Endicott with being witches, and carried two days journey into the woods, and left to the tender mercies of Indians and wolves.

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