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Reviews, Lectures, and Essays,
Historical, Theological, and Miscellaneous Subjects.
By M. J. SPALDING, D.D.
ARCHBISHOP OF BALTIMORE,
Quæcumque in foliis descripsit
Ne turbata volent rapidis ludibria ventis.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOL. II.-THEOLOGICAL AND MISCELLANEOUS.
JOHN MURPHY COMPANY,
70 FIFTH AVENUE.
3507 ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS.
ENTERED, according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by
WEBB, Gill & LEVERING, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District of Kentucky.
ENTERED, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1866,
BY JOHN MURPHY,
ENTERED, according to the Act of Congrees, in the year 1894,
BY JOHN MURPHY & CO.,
XX. OUR COLONIAL BLUE LAWS *
HERETICS, QUAKERS, AND WITCHES.
Two ebaracteristics of the Puritans-Scenting out heresy and witchcraft—Preaching and praction
Consistency - Which colony deserves the palm--Roger Williams-His principles and banishmentLawg against Quakers-How executed-A strong protest-How answered-Persecution avowed and proved from the Bible-Witchcraft in New England-Why so prevalent there-Exposition of Cotton Mather-Shrewdness of the witches-How they were exterminated_"Eight firebrands of bell"-Hanging first, and trying afterwards-Humorous passage from Irving.
For two things were the good pilgrim fathers especially remarkable : their hatred of heresy, and their mortal aversion to witches. Wo to the bold man, who, during the good old days of Puritanism in New England dared to think for himself in matters of religion; if, while enjoying this privilege, he unfortunately differed in opinion from the majority then wielding power. Wo to him if he chanced not to be orthodox for the time being; that is, not so rigidly Calvinistic as his brethren.
He was sure to become the victim of a most relentless persecution; and, if he escaped with sound ears, or an unbored tongue, or even with his life, he might deem himself a very lucky man. And as to the luckless wizard, who, at that enlightened period, dared wave his mystic wand of incantation; or the haggard old witch, who, toothless and lustreless, and mounted on her broom-stick, ventured to perform her stated aerial evolutions, “ to sweep the cobwebs from the sky;" — they were placed entirely without the pale of society ; they were outlawed, and no more mercy was shown them than to the very imps of Satan, who, it was devoutly believed, bodily inhabited their persons!
The pilgrim fathers were certainly excellent heresy-hunters. They could detect the lurking infection in a twinkling. They could discover beams in the eyes of their neighbors, in which others, less keen-sighted,
* I. The Blue Laws of New Haven Colony, usually called the Blue Laws of Connecticut ; Quaker Laws of Plymouth and Massachusetts ; Blue Laws of New York, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. First Record of Connecticut ; interesting extracts from Connecticut Records ; cases of Salem witchcraft; charges and banishment of Rev. Roger Williams, gc., and other interesting and instructive antiquities. Compiled by an Antiquarian. Hartford : Printed by Case, Tiffany & Co. 1838. I vol. 12 mo. pp. 336.
II. The Code of 1656 ; being a compilation of the earliest Laws and Orders of the General Court of Connecticut : also, the Constitution, or civil compact entered into and adopted by the towns of Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield, in 1638-9. To which are added some extracts from the laws and judicial proceedings of the New Haven Colony, commonly called Blue Laws. Hartford : Judd, Loomis & Co. 1836. 1 vol. 16mo., pp. `19.