The Devil in Britain and America

The Devil in Britain and America

Author:
John Ashton
Author:
John Ashton
Format:
epub
language:
English

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Author: Ashton, John, 1834-1911
Witchcraft — Great Britain
Devil
Witchcraft — United States
The Devil in Britain and America

THE DEVIL IN BRITAIN AND AMERICA

 
 

FACSIMILE OF THE ONLY KNOWN SPECIMEN OF THE DEVIL’S WRITING.
 
 
THE DEVIL IN BRITAIN
AND AMERICA

 
BY
JOHN ASHTON
AUTHOR OF
‘SOCIAL ENGLAND UNDER THE REGENCY,’ ‘SOCIAL LIFE IN THE REIGN
OF QUEEN ANNE,’ ‘VARIA,’ ETC.

 

‘Nam ut vere loquamur, superstitio fusa per gentes oppressit omnium fere animos, atque hominum imbecillitatem occupavit.’
CiceroDe Divin., Lib. ii. 72.

 
WITH FORTY-SEVEN ILLUSTRATIONS
 
WARD AND DOWNEY
Limited
12 YORK BUILDINGS, ADELPHI W.C.
1896.
[All rights reserved.]
 
 


PREFACE

 
To my thinking, all modern English books on the Devil and his works are unsatisfactory. They all run in the same groove, give the same cases of witchcraft, and, moreover, not one of them is illustrated. I have endeavoured to remedy this by localizing my facts, and by reproducing all the engravings I could find suitable to my purpose.
I have also tried to give a succinct account of demonology and witchcraft in England and America, by adducing authorities not usually given, and by a painstaking research into old cases, carefully taking everything from original sources, and bringing to light very many cases never before republished.
For the benefit of students, I have given—as an Appendix—a list of the books consulted in the preparation of this work, which, however, the student must remember is not an exhaustive bibliography on the subject, but only applies to this book, whose raison d’être is its localization.
The frontispiece is supposed to be the only specimen of Satanic caligraphy in existence, and is taken from the ‘Introductio in Chaldaicam Linguam,’ etc., by Albonesi (Pavia, 1532). The author says that by the conjuration of Ludovico Spoletano the Devil was called up, and adjured to write a legible and clear answer to a question asked him. Some invisible power took the pen, which seemed suspended in the air, and rapidly wrote what is facsimiled. The writing was given to Albonesi (who, however, confesses that no one can decipher it), and his chief printer reproduced it very accurately. I am told by experts that in some of the characters may be found a trace of Amharic, a language spoken in its purity in the province of Amhara (Ethiopia), and which, according to a legend, was the primeval language spoken in Eden.
JOHN ASHTON.
 
 


CONTENTS

  PAGE
CHAPTER I.
Universal Belief in the Personality of the Devil, as portrayed by the British Artist—Arguments in Favour of his Personality—Ballad—‘Terrible and Seasonable Warning to Young Men’ 1
 
CHAPTER II.
‘Strange and True News from Westmoreland’—‘The Politic Wife’—‘How the Devill, though subtle, was guld by a Scold’—‘The Devil’s Oak’—Raising the Devil—Arguments in Favour of Devils—The Number of Devils 13
 
CHAPTER III.
‘The Just Devil of Woodstock’—Metrical Version—Presumed Genuine History of ‘The Just Devil of Woodstock’ 28
 
CHAPTER IV.
‘The Dæmon of Tedworth’ 47
 
CHAPTER V.
‘The Dæmon of Burton’—‘Strange and Wonderful News from Yowel, in Surrey’—The Story of Mrs. Jermin—A Case at Welton—‘The Relation of James Sherring’ 60
 
CHAPTER VI.
A Demon in Gilbert Campbell’s Family—Case of Sir William York—Case of Ian Smagge—Disturbances at Stockwell 72
 
CHAPTER VII.
Possession by, and casting out, Devils—The Church and Exorcisms—Earlier Exorcists—‘The Strange and Grievous Vexation by the Devil of 7 Persons in Lancashire’ 85
 
CHAPTER VIII.
James I. on Possession—The Vexation of Alexander Nyndge—‘Wonderful News from Buckinghamshire’—Sale of a Devil 113
 
CHAPTER IX.
The Witch of Endor—The ‘Mulier Malefica’ of Berkeley—Northern Witches 129
 
CHAPTER X.
The Legal Witch—James I. on Witches—Reginald Scot on Witches—Addison on Witches 139
 
CHAPTER XI.
How a Witch was made—Her Compact with the Devil—Hell Broth—Homage and Feasting—The Witches’ Sabbat 148
 
CHAPTER XII.
Familiar Spirits—Matthew Hopkins, the ‘Witch-finder’—Prince Rupert’s dog Boy—Unguents used for transporting Witches from Place to Place—Their Festivities at the Sabbat 157
 
CHAPTER XIII.
Waxen Figures—Witches change into Animals—Witch Marks—Testimony against Witches—Tests for, and Examination of, Witches 175
 
CHAPTER XIV.
Legislation against Witches—Punishment—Last Executions for Witchcraft—Inability to weep and sink—Modern Cases of Witchcraft 191
 
CHAPTER XV.
Commencement of Witchcraft in England—Dame Eleanor Cobham—Jane Shore—Lord Huntingford—Cases from the Calendars of State Papers—Earliest Printed Case, that of John Walsh—Elizabeth Stile—Three Witches tried at Chelmsford—Witches of St. Osyth—Witches of Warboys—Witches of Northamptonshire 199
 
CHAPTER XVI.
The Lancashire Witches—Janet Preston—Margaret and Philip Flower—Anne Baker, Joane Willimot, and Ellen Greene—Elizabeth Sawyer—Mary Smith—Joan Williford, Joan Cariden, and Jane Hott 220
 
CHAPTER XVII.
Confessions of Witches executed in Essex—The Witches of Huntingdon—‘Wonderful News from the North’—Trial of Six Witches at Maidstone—Trial of Four Witches at Worcester—A Lancashire Witch tried at Worcester—A Tewkesbury Witch 234
 
CHAPTER XVIII.
A Case of Vomiting Stones, etc., at Evesham—Anne Bodenham—Julian Cox—Elizabeth Styles—Rose Cullender and Amy Duny 246
 
CHAPTER XIX.
The Case of Mary Hill of Beckington—The Confession of Alice Huson—Florence Newton of Youghal—Temperance Lloyd (or Floyd), Mary Trembles, and Susannah Edwards 260
 
CHAPTER XX.
Elizabeth Horner—Pardons for Witchcraft—A Witch taken in London—Sarah Mordike—An Impostor convicted—Case of Jane Wenham—The Last Witch hanged in England 273
 
CHAPTER XXI.
Scotch Witches—Bessie Dunlop—Alesoun Peirson—Dr. John Fian—The Devil a Preacher—Examination of Agnes Sampson—Confession of Issobel Gowdie 287
 
CHAPTER XXII.
Early Witchcraft in Scotland—Lady Glamys—Bessie Dunlop—Lady Foulis—Numerous Cases 301
 
CHAPTER XXIII.
Witchcraft in America—In Illinois: Moreau and Emmanuel—In Virginia: Case of Grace Sherwood—In Pennsylvania: Two Swedish Women—In South Carolina—In Connecticut: Many Cases—In Massachusetts: Margaret Jones; Mary Parsons; Ann Hibbins; Other Cases 311
 
CHAPTER XXIV.
Cotton and Increase Mather—The Case of Goodwin’s Daughter—That of Mr. Philip Smith—The Story of the Salem Witchcrafts—List of Victims—Release of Suspects—Reversal of Attainder, and Compensation 326
 
Appendix 340

 
 


 
THE DEVIL IN BRITAIN AND AMERICA
 

CHAPTER I.

Universal Belief in the Personality of the Devil, as portrayed by the British Artist—Arguments in Favour of his Personality—Ballad—‘Terrible and Seasonable Warning to Young Men.’

 
The belief in a good and evil influence has existed from the earliest ages, in every nation having a religion. The Egyptians had their Typho, the Assyrians their Ti-a-mat (the Serpent), the Hebrews their Beelzebub, or Prince of Flies,[1] and the Scandinavians their Loki. And many religions teach that the evil influence has a stronger hold upon mankind than the good influence—so great, indeed, as to nullify it in a large degree. Christianity especially teaches this: ‘Enter ye by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many be they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few be they that find it.’ This doctrine of the great power of the Devil, or evil influence over man, is preached from every pulpit, under every form of Christianity, throughout the world; and although at the present time it is only confined to the greater moral power of the Devil over man, at an earlier period it was an article of belief that he was able to exercise a greater physical power.
This was coincident with a belief in his personality; and it is only in modern times that that personality takes an alluring form. In the olden days the Devil was always depicted as ugly and repulsive as the artist could represent him, and yet he could have learned a great deal from the modern Chinese and Japanese. The ‘great God Pan,’ although he was dead, was resuscitated in order to furnish a type for ‘the Prince of Darkness’; and, accordingly, he was portrayed with horns, tail and cloven feet, making him an animal, according to a mot attributed to Cuvier, ‘graminivorous, and decidedly ruminant’; while, to complete his classical ensemble, he was invested with the forked sceptre of Pluto, only supplemented with another tine.
 

 
The British artist thus depicted him, but occasionally he drew him as a ‘fearful wild fowl’ of a totally different type—yet always as hideous as his imagination could conceive, or his pencil execute.
 

 

 
That the Devil could show himself to man, in a tangible form, was, for many centuries, an article of firm belief, but, when it came to be argued out logically, it was difficult of proof. The only evidence that could be adduced which could carry conviction was from the Bible, which, of course, was taken as the ipsissima verba of God, and, on that, the old writers based all their proof. One of the most lucid of them, Gyfford or Gifford, writing in the sixteenth century, evidently feels this difficulty. Trying to prove that ‘Diuels can appeare in a bodily shape, and use speeche and conference with men,’ he says:[2]
‘Our Saviour Christ saith that a spirite hath neither flesh nor bones. A spirite hath a substance, but yet such as is invisible, whereupon it must needes be graunted, that Diuels in their owne nature have no bodilye shape, nor visible forme; moreover, it is against the truth, and against pietie to believe that Diuels can create, or make bodies, or change one body into another, for those things are proper to God. It followeth, therefore, that whensoever they appeare in a visible forme, it is no more but an apparition and counterfeit shewe of a bodie, unless a body be at any time lent them.’
And further on he thus speaks of the incarnation of Satan, as recorded in the Bible.
‘The Deuill did speake unto Eua out of the Serpent. A thing manifest to proue that Deuils can speake, unlesse we imagine that age hath made him forgetfull and tongue tyde. Some holde that there was no visible Serpent before Eua, but an invisible thing described after that manner, that we might be capable thereof…. But to let those goe, this is the chiefe and principall, for the matter which I have undertaken, to shewe euen by the very storye that there was not onely the Deuill, but, also, a very corporall beaste. If this question bee demaunded did Eua knowe there was anye Deuill, or any wicked reprobate Angels. What man of knowledge will say that she did? She did not as yet knowe good and euill. She knewe not the authour of euill. When the Lorde sayde unto hir, What is this which thou hast done? she answereth by and by, The serpent deceiued me. Shee saw there was one which had deceiued hir, shee nameth him a serpent; whence had she that name for the deuill whome shee had not imagined to bee? It is plaine that she speaketh of a thing which had, before this, receiued his name.
‘It is yet more euident by that she sayth, yonder serpent, or that serpent, for she noteth him out as pointing to a thing visible: for she useth the demonstratiue particle He in the Hebrew language, which seuereth him from other. Anie man of a sound mind may easilie see that Eua nameth and pointeth at a visible beast, which was nombred among the beastes of the fielde.’
The Devil seems, with the exception of his entering into persons, not to have used his power of appearing corporeally until people became too holy for him to put up with, and many are the records in the Lives of the Saints of his appearance to these detestably good people—St. Anthony, to wit. Of course he always came off baffled and beaten, and, in the case of St. Dunstan, suffered acute bodily pain, his nose being pinched by the goldsmith-saint’s red-hot tongs. Yet even that did not deter him from again becoming visible, until, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of our era, he became absolutely familiar on this earth.
But, according to all the records that we possess, his mission no longer was to seduce the saints from their allegiance, and, having become more democratic, he mixed familiarly with the people, under different guises. Of course, his object was to secure the reversion of their souls at their decease, his bait usually being the promise of wealth in this life, or the gratification of some passion.
He found many victims, but yet he met with failures—two of which are recorded here.
 
A NEW BALLAD.
SHEWING THE GREAT MISERY SUSTAINED BY A POORE MAN IN ESSEX, HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, WITH OTHER STRANGE THINGS DONE BY THE DEVILL.

A poore Essex man
that was in great distresse,
Most bitterly made his complaint,
in griefe and heavinesse:
Through scarcity and want,
he was oppressed sore,
He could not find his children bread,
he was so extreme poore.

His silly Wife, God wot,
being lately brought to bed,
With her poore Infants at her brest
had neither drinke nor bread.
A wofull lying in
was this, the Lord doth know,
God keep all honest vertuous wives
from feeling of such woe.

My Husband deare, she said,
for want of food I die,
Some succour doe for me provide,
to ease my misery.
The man with many a teare,
most pittiously replyde,
We have no means to buy us bread;
with that, the Children cry’d.

They came about him round,
upon his coat they hung:
And pittiously they made their mone,
their little hands they wrung.
Be still, my boyes, said he,
And I’le goe to the Wood,
And bring some Acornes for to rost,
and you shall have some food.

Forth went the Wofull Man,
a Cord he tooke with him,
Wherewith to bind the broken wood,
that he should homewards bring:
And by the way as he went,
met Farmers two or three,
Desiring them for Christ his sake,
to helpe his misery.

Oh lend to me (he said)
one loafe of Barley-bread,
One pint of milke for my poore wife,
in Child-bed almost dead:
Thinke on my extreme need,
to lend me have no doubt,
I have no money for to pay,
but I will worke it out.

But they in churlish sort,
did one by one reply,
We have already lent you more
than we can well come by.
This answere strooke his heart
as cold as any stone;
Unto the Wood from thence he went,
with many a grievous groane.

Where at the length (behold)
a tall man did him meet
And cole-black were his garments all
from head unto his feet.
Thou wretched man, said he,
why dost thou weep so sore?
What is the cause thou mak’st this mone,
tell me, and sigh no more.

Alas, good Sir (he said)
the lacke of some reliefe,
For my poore wife and children small,
’tis cause of all my griefe.
They lie all like to starve,
for want of bread (saith he);
Good Sir, vouchsafe therefore to give
one peny unto me.

Hereby this wretched man
committed wondrous evill,
He beg’d an almes, and did not know
he ask’t it of the Devill.
But straight the hellish Fiend,
to him reply’d againe,
An odious sinner art thou then
that dost such want sustaine.

Alack (the poore man said)
this thing for truth I know,
That Job was just, yet never Man
endured greater woe.
The godly oft doe want,
and need doth pinch them sore,
Yet God will not forsake them quite,

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