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The Devils of Loudun, by Edmund Goldsmid, [1887], at

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THE declaration of the Evil Spirit could not to make a great commotion, and to have results which required precautions to be taken at once. The Canon, like a wise man, put himself in communication with Justice, and informed the magistrates of what was passing at the convent, on the 11th October, 1632. Grandier, prepared for all contingencies, had already taken his measures. Many of the magistrates belonged to the new religion and were favourable to him, looking upon him as a secret adherent; they served him as he expected. At the same time, he made all possible use of his extraordinary talents for pettifogging, presented petition on petition, questioned every statement of the exorcists and of the nuns, threatened their confessor

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[paragraph continues] Mignon, complained that his reputation was attacked, and that the means were thus taken from him of doing the good his position required, and demanded that the nuns should be locked up and the exorcisms be put an end to. He knew well enough that his demands were out of the question, and that civil justice has nothing to do with the exercise of religious functions. But he wished, if possible, to embarrass the exorcists, and commit the judges with the bishops, or, at any rate, throw discord among them, and give his Calvinists an opportunity of crying out; he succeeded.

The magistrates separated. Only those who were favourable to him remained: the rest ceased to appear at the exorcisms, and Mignon soon withdrew from the convent. Excitement rose in the public mind, a thousand arguments on this or that side permeated the town, and a thousand quarrels took place on all sides.

This excitement, however, and these disputes settled nothing, and the exorcisms, which continued, had no better result. Grandier triumphed, and his friends admired his wit, his skill, and proclaimed aloud that he could be convicted of nothing, not even as regards women, although they knew well how far he had gone in this matter. Until now, the Court had taken no notice of the affair; but the noise it had made in

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the world since the first days of October 1632 had reached the Queen's ears. She requested information, and the Abbé Marescot, one of her chaplains, was sent to examine into the matter and report to her. He arrived at Loudun on the 28th November, and witnessed what was going on. No immediate consequences followed: but an incident soon occurred, which caused a sudden change in the position of affairs.

The King had resolved to raze the castles and fortresses existing in the heart of the kingdom, and commissioned M. de Laubardemont to see to the demolition of that of Loudun. He arrived, and saw what a ferment the town was in, the animosity that reigned there, and the kind of man who caused the commotion. The complaints of those who were victims of the debaucheries, of the pride, or of the vengeance of the curate, touched him, and it seemed to him important to put an end to the scandal. On his return he informed the King and the Cardinal-Minister of the facts: Louis XIII., naturally pious and just, perceived the greatness of the evil, and deemed it his duty to put a stop to it. He appointed M. de Laubardemont to investigate the matter without appeal; with orders to choose in the neighbouring jurisdictions the most straightforward and learned judges. The Commission is dated 30th November, 1633.

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Nothing less was needed to bring to justice a man upheld by a seditious and enterprising party, and so well versed in the details of chicannerie: an art always shameful in any man, but especially to an ecclesiastic. The King issued at the same time two decrees, to arrest and imprison Grandier and his accomplices. Armed with such powers, the Commissioner did not fear to attack a man who had so often succeeded in gaining either a nonsuit on some question of form, or in turning accusations to his own advantage, or else dragging out proceedings to such a length as to weary his adversaries and his judges.

The Calvinists, already irritated at the razing of the Castle which served them as a rallying place in times of rebellion, cried out against this new tribunal, because they saw that it was the sole means of rendering useless the knaveries of their friend. But they cried out much louder when the Commissioner arrested the accused, without waiting for informations, and seized all his papers. As if it were not well known that, in criminal matters, this mode of proceeding is usual. In this case it was absolutely necessary. For, without this precaution, Grandier might have fled, and defended himself from afar, engaging the attention of judges, who had plenty of work elsewhere. He might even have raised tumults in the city, which might have necessitated violent remedies.

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These precautions being taken, the Commissioner commenced his investigation, and proceeded to hear witnesses on the 17th December, 7633.

The Commissioner now learned of what Grandier and his party were capable. The witnesses were so intimidated that none would speak, and it required all the Royal Authority to reassure them. He therefore issued a proclamation forbidding the intimidation of witnesses, under penalty of prosecution; and the Bishop of Poitiers having supported the King's decision, the two priests, Gervais Méchin and Martin Boulieau, who had been forced to retract their evidence in the former trial, presented a petition in which they declared that they had been seduced and constrained by several persons in authority to recall their evidence, and they now affirmed their first evidence to be true. The evidence of the nuns was also heard, and that of lay persons of both sexes, amongst others of two women, the one of whom confessed having had criminal relations with Grandier, and that he had offered to make her Princess of Magicians, whilst the second confirmed the evidence of the first. *

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As regards the nuns, they deposed that Grandier had introduced himself into the convent by day p. 11 and night for four months, without anyone knowing how he got in; that he presented himself to p. 12 them whilst standing at divine service and tempted them to indecent actions both by word and deed; p. 13 that they were often struck by invisible persons; and that the marks of the blows were so visible p. 14 that the doctors and surgeons had easily found them, and that the beginning of all these troubles p. 15 was signalized by the apparition of Prior Moussaut, their first confessor. The Mother Superior and p. 16 seven or eight other nuns, when confronted with Grandier, identified him, although it was ascertained p. 17 that they had never seen him save by magic, and that he had never had anything to do p. 18 with their affairs. The two women formerly mentioned and the two priests maintained the p. 19 truth of their evidence. In a word, besides the nuns and six lay women, "sixty witnesses deposed p. 20 to adulteries, incests, sacrileges, and other crimes, committed by the accused, even in the most secret p. 21 places of his church, as in the vestry, where the Holy Host was kept, on all days and at all hours."

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It may well be imagined that the mother, brothers and friends of the accused did not p. 23 abandon him. They appealed to every possible authority. The details of these proceedings would be as wearisome as useless, as the Commissioner, by the very terms of his Commission, was placed above all such dilatory pettifogging, and therefore refused or annulled all applications in that direction. He then questioned the accused as to the facts and articles of accusation, and after, having made hint sign his confessions and denials, proceeded to Paris to inform the Court of what he had done.

The King and his Council thought it right to furnish him with means to overcome all obstacles to a speedy decision. This precaution was necessary, for letters from the Bailly of Loudun, Grandier's chief supporter, to the Procurator-General of the Parliament, were intercepted, in which it was asserted that the "possession" was an imposter. The latter's reply was also seized. Monsieur de Laubardemont returned therefore to Loudun with a Decree of the Council, dated 31st

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[paragraph continues] May 1634, confirming all his powers and prohibiting Parliament and all other judges from interfering in this business, and forbidding all parties concerned from appealing, under penalty of a fine of five hundred livres. He caused Grandier to be transferred from the prison of Augers to that of Loudun, so as to have him at hand to confront with witnesses, if need be.

But, first of all, he considered it necessary to examine the nuns carefully; for this purpose, with the consent of the Bishop, he sequestrated them in different convents, and interrogated them so severely that one might have thought that they themselves were the magicians. "He saw them all, the one after the other, for several days; and listened to their conversations, to observe their mode of thought. He enquired minutely into their lives, their morals, their behavior, not only secular but religious. His depositions, or notes, which represented the evidence of twenty girls, including a few not nuns, filled fifty rolls of official paper, and were the admiration of all judges, so great was the prudence and care they demonstrated."

On the other hand the Bishop of Poitiers, after having sent several Doctors of Theology to examine the victims, came to Loudun in person, and exorcised them himself, or had them exorcised by others in his presence for two months and a

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half. Never was work done with such care and attention.

All precognitions over, the Commissioner began to confront the accused with the witnesses, and the latter maintained, face to face with Grandier, the evidence they had given against him.

As regard the nuns, it was observed that they never contradicted themselves, whether questioned together or separately, though they were examined often, by different persons, and as skilfully as possible. Now, criminals do not manage this, for the cleverest have the greatest difficulty in avoiding contradictory statements. Those writers, who have supported Grandier, have never discovered the least discrepancy in the evidence of the nuns. Nor did Grandier ever plead malice on their part as a defence, for they had never seen him, nor had he had anything to do with their affairs, as we have said.

If, as calumny asserts, the only thing sought was the death of Grandier, here were sufficient proofs to burn him, if only for abusing the privileges of his ministry and of his Church, or for the sacrileges he had committed therein. But justice is not satisfied with punishing one kind of crime, when she finds traces of another still more serious. It was moreover a Christian duty to assist the views of God, who permitted so strange an event, to confound the calumnies of the protestants, and

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to prove the demonstration the "possession" of the nuns, and the magic exercised by the accused. To this the Commissioners and the other judges applied themselves.

Thus, as it was a matter rather of religion than of jurisprudence, they resolved to begin by prayer to God, who is the Father of all Light, rightly considering that all France was watching the trial with eager eyes, that it was shrouded in a thick veil of obscurity, and that their verdict would entail important consequences. They therefore prepared to receive divine assistance and grace by frequent confessions, and by often receiving the Holy Sacrament. Then they decreed a general procession to implore celestial aid in so difficult a matter; and, to excite the devotion of the masses by their example, they went in a body, during the whole of the trial, to visit the Churches of the city, set aside by the Bishop for forty hour services, and reached each in time for the elevation of the host. Thence the Exorcists went to the Church fixed upon for the Exorcisms, and the judges proceeded to the tribunal to continue the case; in the evening all returned to church for evensong.

The examination lasted forty days, during which Demons gave them the clearest proofs of their presence in the bodies of the persons exorcised, and every day added new evidence against Grandier, and yet never said anything against him which

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did not turn out strictly true. These assertions merit distinct proof, which will be found interesting.

As regards the presence of Devils in the possessed, the Church teaches us in its ritual, that there are four principal signs, by which it can be undoubtedly recognised. These signs are the speaking or understanding of a language unknown to the person possessed; the revelation of the future, or of events happening far away; the exhibition of strength beyond the years and nature of the actor; and floating in the air for a few moments.

The Church does not require, in order to have recourse to Exorcisms, that all these marks should be found in the same subject; one alone, if well authenticated, is sufficient to demand public exorcism.

Now, they are all to be found in the Nuns of Loudun, and in such numbers that we can only. mention the principal cases.

Acquaintance with unknown tongues first showed itself in the Mother-Superior. At the beginning, she answered in Latin the questions of the Ritual proposed to her in that language. Later, she and the others answered in any language they thought proper to question in.

M. de Launay de Razilli, who had lived in America, attested that, during a visit to Loudun, he had spoken to them in the language of a certain

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savage tribe of that country, and that they had answered quite correctly, and had revealed to him events that had taken place there.

Some gentlemen of Normandy certified in writing that they had questioned Sister Clara de Sazilli in Turkish, Spanish, and Italian, and that her answers were correct.

M. de Nismes, Doctor of the Sorbonne, and one of the chaplains of the Cardinal de Lyon, having questioned them in Greek and German, was satisfied with their replies in both languages.

Father Vignier, Superior of the Oratory at La Rochelle, bears witness in his Latin Narrative, that, having questioned Sister Elizabeth a whole afternoon in Greek, she always replied correctly and obeyed him in every particular.

The Bishop of Nimes commanded Sister Clara in Greek to raise veil and to kiss the railings at a certain spot; she obeyed, and did many other things he ordered, which caused the prelate to exclaim that one must be an Atheist or lunatic not to believe in "possession."

Some doctors questioned them also as to the meaning of some Greek technical terms, extremely difficult to explain, and only known to the most learned men, and they clearly expressed the real signification of the words.

Lastly, Grandier himself being confronted with them, his Bishop invested him with the stole to

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exorcise the Mother Superior, who, he declared, knew Latin; but he did not dare to question her or the others in Greek, though they dared him to it; whereon he remained very embarrassed. *

As to the Revelation of hidden matters or of events passing afar off, proofs are still more abundant. We will only select a few of the most remarkable.

M. Morin, Prior of St. Jacques de Thouars, having requested M. Morans, Commissioner appointed by the Bishop of Poitiers to watch over the possessed, and to assist in the trial of Grandier, to allow some sign to be given proving actual infernal possession, whispered to M. de Morans that he wished one of the possessed to bring him five rose leaves. Sister Clara was then away in the refectory; M. de Morans ordered, in his thoughts, the Demon who possessed her to obey the wish of M. Morin, for the greater glory of God. Thereupon the Nun left the refectory, and went into the garden, whence she brought first a pansy and other plants, and presented them with roars of laughter, saying to M. de Morans:

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[paragraph continues] "Is that what you wish, father? I am not a Devil, to guess your thoughts."—To which he replied simply: "Obedias," obey. She then returned to the garden, and after several repetitions of the order, presented through the railings a little rose branch, on which were six leaves. The Exorcist said to her: "Obedias punctualiter sub pœnâ maledictionis," obey to the letter under penalty of malediction; she then plucked off one leaf, and offered the branch saying: "I see you will only have five; the other was one too many." The Prior was so convinced by what he saw, that he went out with tears in his eyes. An official report of the fact was drawn up.

Madame de Laubardemont also tried the sane experiment, in order to convince many sceptics who were present: and she was equally successful.

The Liententant-Criminel of Orleans, the President Tours, Lieutenant-General de S. Maixant, and myself * also had our curiosity gratified. I desired that Sister Clara should bring me her beads, and say an Ave-Maria. She first brought e. pin, and then some aniseed; being urged to obey, she said: "I see you want something else,"

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and then she brought me her beads and offered to say an Ave-Maria.

M. Chiron, Prior of Maillezais, desiring to strengthen his belief in demoniacal possession, begged M. de Morans to allow him to whisper to a third party the sign he required; and he thereon whispered to M. de Fernaison, Canon and Provost of the same Church, that he wished the nun to fetch a missal then lying near the door, and to put her finger on the introit of the mass of the Holy Virgin, beginning "Salve, Sancta parens." M. de Morans, who had heard nothing, ordered Sister Clara, who was likewise ignorant of what had been said, to obey the intentions of M. Chiron. This young girl then fell into strange convulsions, blaspheming, rolling on the ground, exposing her person in the most indecent manner, without a blush, and with foul and lascivious expressions and actions, * till she caused all who looked on to hide their eyes with shame. Though she had never seen the prior, she called him by his name, and said he should be her lover. It was only

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after many repeated commands, and an hour's struggling, that she took up the missal, saying: "I will pray." Then, turning her eyes in another direction, she placed her finger on the capital S at the beginning of the introit aforesaid, of which facts reports were drawn up.

M. de Milliere, a gentleman of Maine, certified that, being present at the Exorcism of Sister Clara, and on his knees, the Devil asked him whether he was saying a De Profundis for his wife, which was the case. The Marquis de la Mothe, son of M. de Parabel, governor of Poitou, certified that sister Louise de Nogeret had disclosed his most secret faults in the presence of Father Tranquille, and of Madame de Neuillant, his aunt.

The same M. de la Mothe also asked an Exorcist to make Sister Clara, who was in the convent, come out, kneel down, and say an Ave Maria; she came after repeated commands, and obeyed.

Chevalier de Mere, who was present, asked the Devil on what day he had last confessed. The Devil answered Friday. The Chevalier acknowledged this to be correct; whereupon Sister Clara withdrew. But as he wished to try the Devil again, he begged the exorcist to make her return, and whispered some words to the Marquis and the Monk, for the nun to repeat. The exorcist refused, as the words were indecent. He changed

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them, therefore, into Pater, et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus! He whispered these words so low, that the exorcist could hardly hear them. The nun, who was in another room, came at the command of the Father, and addressing the Chevalier, first said the indecent words the monk had refused, and then repeated several times Gloria patri et filio et Spiritui Sancta. She was ordered to say the words, exactly as she had been desired, but she said she would not.

The Bishop of Nîmes, being present at an exorcism by Father Surin, begged him to order something in difficult Latin; and the Demon thereupon performed what was wanted.

A Jesuit wishing to try what so many people stated they had experienced, gave an inward order to a demon who had been exorcised; and then immediately another. In the space of a second he gave five or six orders, which he countermanded one after another; and thus tormented the Devil, who was ordered to obey his intentions. The Demon repeated his commands aloud, beginning by the first, and adding, "But you wont," and when he had come to the last he said, "Now let's see whether we can do this."

"When it rained," says Father Surin, "the Devil used to place the Mother Superior under the wafer spout. As I knew this to be a habit of his, I commanded him mentally to bring her to me;

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whereupon she used to come and ask me: 'What do you want.'"

Another thing which struck the Exorcists, was the instantaneous answers they gave to the most difficult questions of Theology, as to grace, the vision of God, Angels, the Incarnation and similar subjects, always in the very terns used in the schools.

The corporal effect of possession is a proof which strikes the coarsest minds. It has this other advantage, that an example convinces a whole assembly*

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Now the nuns of Loudun gave these proofs daily. When the Exorcist gave some order to p. 36 the Devil, the nuns suddenly passed from a state of quiet into the most terrible convulsions, and p. 37 without the slightest increase of pulsation. They struck their chests and backs with their heads, p. 38 as if they had had their neck broken, and with inconceivable rapidity; they twisted their arms p. 39 at the joints of the shoulder, the elbow and the wrist two or three times round; lying on their p. 40 stomachs they joined their palms of their hands to the soles of their feet; their faces became so as the commissioners should incline. It further p. 41 frightful one could not bear to look at them; their eyes remained open without winking; their tongues p. 42 issued suddenly from their mouths, horribly swollen, black, hard, and covered with pimples, p. 43 and yet while in this state they spoke distinctly; they threw themselves back till their heads touched p. 44 their feet, and walked in this position with wonderful rapidity, and for a long time. They uttered: cries so horrible and so loud that nothing like it was ever heard before; they made use of expressions so indecent as to shame the most debauched of men, while their acts, both in exposing themselves and inviting lewd behaviour from those present, would have astonished the inmates of the lowest brothel in the country; they p. 45 uttered maledictions against the three Divine Persons of the Trinity, oaths and blasphemous expressions so execrable, so unheard of, that they could not have suggested themselves to the human mind. They used to watch without rest, and fast five or six days at a time, or be tortured twice a day as we have described during several hours, without their health suffering; on the contrary, those that were somewhat delicate, appeared healthier than before their possession.

The Devil sometimes made them fall suddenly asleep: they fell to the ground and became so heavy, that the strongest man had great trouble in even moving their heads. Françoise Filestreau having her mouth closed, one could hear within her body different voices speaking at the same time, quarrelling, and discussing who should make her speak.

Lastly, one often saw Elizabeth Blanchard, in her convulsions, with her feet in the air and her head on the ground, leaning against a chair or a window sill without other support.

The Mother Superior from the beginning was carried off her feet and remained suspended in the air at the height of 24 inches. A report of this was drawn up and sent to the Sorbonne, signed by a great number of witnesses, ecclesiastics and doctors, and the judgement thereon of the Bishop of Poitiers who was also a witness. The doctors

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of the Sorbonne were of the same opinion as the Bishop, and declared that infernal possession was proved.

Both she and other nuns lying flat, without moving foot, hand, or body, were suddenly lifted to their feet like statues.

In another exorcism the Mother Superior was suspended in the air, only touching the ground with her elbow.

Others, when comatose, became supple like a thin piece of lead, so that their body could be bent in every direction, forward, backward, or sideways, till their head touched the ground; and they remained thus so long as their position was not altered by others.

At other times they passed the left foot over their shoulder to the cheek. They passed also their feet over their head till the big toe touched the tip of the nose.

Others again were able to stretch their legs so far to the right and left that they sat on the ground without any space being visible between their bodies and the floor, their bodies erect and their hands joined.

One, the Mother Superior, stretched her legs to such an extraordinary extent, that from toe to toe the distance was 7 feet, though she was herself but 4 feet high.

But sometime before the death of Grandier,

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this lady had a still stranger experience. In a few words this is what happened: In an exorcism the Devil promised Father Lactance as a sign of his exit, that he would make three wounds on the left side of the Mother Superior. He described their appearance and stated the day and hour when they would appear. He said he would come out from within, without affecting the nun's health, and forbade that any remedy should be applied, as the wounds would leave no mark.

On the day named, the exorcism took place; and as many doctors had come from the neighbouring towns to be present at this event, M. de Laubardemont made them draw near, and permitted then to examine the clothes of the nun, to uncover her side in the presence of the assembly, to look into all the folds of her dress, of her stays which were of whalebone, and of her chemise, to make sure there was no weapon: she only had about her her scissors, which were given over to another. M. de Laubardemont asked the doctors to tie her; hut they begged him to let them first see the convulsions they had heard spoken of. He granted this, and during the convulsions the Superior suddenly came to herself with a sigh, pressed her right hand to her left side and withdrew it covered with blood. She was again examined, and the doctors with the whole assembly saw three bloody wounds, of the size stated by the Devil; the

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chemise, the stays, and the dress were pierced in three places, the largest hole looking as if a pistol bullet had passed through. The nun was thereupon entirely stripped, but no instrument of any description was found upon her. A report was immediately drawn up, and Monsieur, brother of the King, who witnessed the facts, with all the nobles of his Court, attested the document.



v2_9:* Our forefathers, if not more moral than ourselves, certainly punished immorality, when discovered, much more severely, as is witnessed by the following proclamation:—

"William by the Grace of God, King of Great p. 10 Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith; To . . Macers of Our Privy Council, Messengers at Arms, Our Sherifs in that part, conjunctly and severally, specially constitute, Greeting: Forasmuch as, notwithstanding of the many good Laws and Acts of Parliament made against Prophaneness, and for the restraining and suppressing of Vice and Immoralities, the same do still abound, to the great dishonour of God, the Reproach of the true Protestant Religion, and to the hurt and prejudice of the Peace and Government of the Realm; And We being resolved, as it hath alwise been Our Care, to have these Laws and Acts of Parliament put in due and vigorous Execution; And conceiving that the Printing and publishing of an abreviat of the saids Acts duely collected, and laid together, for the better Information and Instruction of all Our Judges, Officers and Ministers of the Law, and also of all Our other good Subjects, may be of special Use and Advantage, for their better Observation and Execution, according to their full Tenor and Intent: Therefore, and in Answer to an Address, presented to the Lords of Our Privy Council, by the Commissioners of the late General Assembly of this Church for that effect; We with Advice of the saids Lords of Our Privy Council, have thought fit, and do hereby appoint thep. 11 Abreviat and List of the saids Acts hereto subjoined to be Printed and duely published at all the Mercat Crosses of the Head Burghs of the Shires, Stewartries, Regalities and Baillaries of this Realm: And farder, that in all time coming, this present Proclamation, with the Abreviat and List thereto subjoined, be publickly read twice every Year in all the Paroch Churches and Congregations within this Kingdom, to wit, on the first Lords Day after each Term of Whitsunday and Martinmas yearly, after the Forenoons Sermon, and before the dissolving of the Congregation; and that all Presbyteries be careful to have this Publication constantly and solemnly made in all Churches within their Bounds, with suitable and pertinent Exhortations, as they will be answerable; And We peremptorly Command and Charge, all Judges, Magistrats and Officers of the Law whatsoever, each of them within their Bounds and Jurisdictions, and as they are thereto respectively impowered, to be careful to put the foresaids Laws above, and after mentioned, to due and exact Execution upon their highest peril. Follows the List and Abbreviat of the Laws against Prophaneness, and for suppressing of Vice and Immorality. 1mo. Act twenty one, Charles second, Parliament first, Session first, Entituled, Act against the Crime of Blasphemy, that p. 12 whosoever not being distracted in his Wits, shall rail upon, or Curse God, or any of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity, shall be processed before the Chief Justice, and being found Guilty, shall be punished with Death: As also, whosoever shall deny God, or any of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity; and obstinatly continue therein, being processed and found Guilty, shall be punished with Death. Item, The Act of Our first Parliament, Session fifth, Cap. Eleventh, Ratifying the foresaid Act; And farder Statuting, that whoever hereafter shall in their Writing or Discourse, Deny Impugn or Quarel, Argue or Reason against the Being of God, or any of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity, or the Authority of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, or the Providence of God, in the Government of the World, shall for the first Fault be punished with Imprisonment, ay and while they give publick Satisfaction in Sackcloth to the Congregation in which the Scandal was committed; And for the second Fault, the Delinquent shall be fined in a years valued Rent of his real Estate, and the twenty part of his free personal Estate, the equal half of which Fines to be applyed to the Poor of the Paroch where the Crime shall be committed, and the other half to the Informer, besides his being Imprisoned, ay and while he again p. 13 make Satisfaction as above; And for the third Fault, he shall be punished by Death, as an obstinat Blasphemer: And all Magistrats and Ministers of the Law, and Judges in this Kingdom, are Authorised and Required to put this Act in Execution as to the first Fault, as are all Sheriffs, Stewarts, Baillies of Baillaries and Regalities, and their Depots, and Magistrats of Burghs, to put the same in Execution as to the second Fault; remitting the Execution thereof, as to the third Fault, to the Lords of His Majesties Justiciary. 2do. All Laws and Acts of Parliament made against Cursing and Swearing, as Act Queen Mary, Parliament fifth, Cap. Sixteenth, whereby it is Statute, that whosoever Swears abominable Oaths, and detestable Execrations, shall be punished with the Pecuniary Mulcts, and other pains contained in the said Act. Act James sixth, Parliament seventh, Cap. One hundred and third, ratifying the foresaid Act, with an Augmentation of the Pains, and that Censors be appointed in the Mercat place of all Burrows, and other publick Fairs, with Power to put the Swearers of abominable Oaths in Ward, while they have payed the saids Pains, and find Surety to abstain in time coming, and that by Direction and Commission of the Sherifs, Stewarts, Baillies, Provosts, Baillies of Burrows, Lords of Regalities, and other ordinary Officers; And p. 14 that all House-holders delate to the Magistrates, the Names of the Transgressors of this present Act within their Houses, that they may be punished, under the pain to be esteemed and punished as Offenders themselves; And that if the said Magistrats be remiss or negligent in the Execution of this Act, they shall upon Complaint be called before Us, and Our Privy Council, and committed to Ward during pleasure, and find Surety under great Pains at Our sight, for their exact Diligence in executing the said Act thereafter. Act Charles second, Parliament first, Session first, Cap. nineteenth, ratifying and approving all Acts of Parliament against all manner of Cursing and Swearing. And farder declaring that each Person who shal Blaspheme, Swear or Curse, shall be lyable in the pains following, each Nobleman in twenty Pounds Scots, each Baron in twenty Merks, each Gentleman, Heretor or Burges in ten Merks, each Yeoman in forty shillings Scots, each Servant in twenty shillings toties quoties, each Minister in the fifth part of his Years Stipend, and if the Party Offender be not able to pay the Penalties foresaid, then to be examplary punished in his Body, according to the Merit of his Fault: And this Act is again Ratified, Charles second, Parliament second, Session third, Cap. twenty two, which contains a distinct and particular Method, how p. 15 and by whom, it shall be Execute. 3tio. All Laws and Acts of Parliament for Observation of the Sabbath or Lords-Day, As Act James sixth, Parliament sixth, Cap. seventy one, That there be no Mercats nor Fairs holden upon the Sabbath Day, nor yet within the Kirk or Kirk-yards that Day, or any other day; and that no Handy-Labour be used upon the Sabbath-Day, under the pain of Ten shilling Scots; and that no Gaming, Playing, passing to the Taverns and Ale Houses, or selling of Meat or Drink, or wilful remaining from the Paroch-Kirk in time of Sermon, or Prayers, upon the Sabbath-Day be used, under the Pains of Twenty shilling Scots, and who refuse, or are unable to pay the saids Pains, shall be put and holden in the Stocks, or such other Engine devised for publick Punishment, by the space of Twenty Four Hours and this Act as to the discharging of Fairs and Mercats holden on Sabbath-Days, Ratified James the Sixth, Parliament Thirteenth, Cap, one hundred and fifty nine, and again Ratified against these who Prophane the Sabbath-Day, by Selling or Presenting Goods to be sold upon the said Day, and the Pain of the Third Transgression, declared to be Escheat of their haill Goods and Punishment of their Persons at our Will; James sixth, Parliament fourteenth, Cap. one hundred and ninety eight. Item, Act eighteenth Charles second, p. 16 Parliament first, Entituled, Act for the due Observation of the Sabbath-Day, Ratifying and Approving all former Acts of Parliament made for Observation of the Sabbath-Day, and against the Breakers thereof, and discharging all going of Salt pans, Milns or Kilns, under the pain of twenty Pounds Scots, to be payed by the Heretors and Possessors thereof; and all Salmond-fishing, hiring of Shearers, carrying of Loads keeping of Mercats, or using of Merchandice on the said Day, and all other Prophanations thereof, under the pain of Ten Pounds Scots, the one half whereof to be payed by the said Fisher, and Shearer hired, and the other half by the persons Hiring, and if the Offender be not able to pay the saids Penalties, that he be exemplary punished in his Body, according to the Merit of his Fault; and this Act ratified Charles second, Parliament second, Session third, Cap. twenty two. 4to. The Act Charles second, Parliament first, Session first, Cap. twenty, Entituled, Act against Cursing and Beating of Parents, whereby it is Statute, that whosoever Son or Daughter above the age of sixteen years, not being distracted, shall Beat and Curse either their Father or Mother, shall be put to death without Mercy, and such as are within the Age of Sixteen Years, and past the Age of Pupilarity, to be punished at the Arbitrament of the Judge, according p. 17 to their deserving. 5to. All Acts against Drunkards and excessive Drinking, such as the Act James sixth, Parliament twenty two, Cap. twenty whereby it is Statute, That all persons convict of Drunkenness, or of Haunting of Taverns and Ale-Houses after Tea Hours at Night, or at any time of the Day, except in time of Travel, or for ordinary Refreshment, shall for the first Fault pay Three Pounds, or if unable, or refusing, be put in Jogs or Prison for the space of six Hours; For the second Fault five Pounds, or if unable, or refusing, to be keeped in Stocks or Prison for the space of twelve Hours; And for the third Fault, to pay Ten Pounds, or in case foresaid to be keeped in Stocks or Prison for the space of twenty four Hours: if they transgress thereafter, to be committed to Prison till they find Caution for their good Behaviour. Item, The Act Charles second, Parliament first, Cap. nineteenth, Ratifying all former Acts against the Crime of excessive Drinking, Declaring, That whosoever shall drink unto Excess, shall be lyable, each Nobleman in twenty pounds Scots, each Baron in twenty Merks, each Gentleman, Heretor or Burgess in ten Merks, each Yeoman in forty shillings, each Servant in twenty shillings Scots toties quoties; each Minister in the fifth part of his years Stipend, and that the Offender unable p. 18 to pay the foresaids Penalties be exemplary punished in his Body, according to the Merit of his Fault. 6to. The Laws and Acts of Parliament made against Adulterers, as Queen Mary, Parliament fifth, Cap. twenty, whereby it is Statute, That manifest and incorrigible Adulterers after the Process of Haly-Kirk, sua far as the samen may extend, is used upon them, for their Disobedience and Contemption, be denounced Rebels and put to the Horn, and all their Moveable inhrought as Escheat, and no Appellation interponed frae the said Censures of Haly-Kirk to suspend the Horning. Act Queen Mary, Parliament ninth, Cap. seventy four, That all notour and manifest Committers of Adultery be punished with all rigour unto the Death, as well the Woman as the Man, after due Monition made to abstain frae the said nottour Crime, and that for other Adultery the Acts and Laws made thereupon of before, be put to Execution with all rigour. And the Act James sixth, Parliament seventh, Cap. one hundred and fifth, whereby it is declared, That it shall be judged nottour and manifest Adultery, wordie of the pain of Death, whoever has Bairns one or moe procreat betwixt the persons Adulterers, or when they keep Company in Bed together notoriously known, or when they are suspect of Adultery, and duely admonished by the p. 19 Kirk, to abstain and satisfy the Kirk by Repentance and Purgation, yet contemptuously refusing, are Excommunicat for their Obstinacy. 7timo. All Laws and Acts of Parliament made against Fornication, as Act Ja. sixth, Parliament first, Cap. thirteenth, Statuting, That who shall commit the filthy Vice of Fornication, shall for the first Fault, as well the Man as the Woman, pay the Sum of Forty pounds, or then both he and she shall be Imprisoned for the space of eight days, their Food to be Bread and small Drink, and thereafter presented to the Mercat-place of the Town or Paroch bare-headed, shill there stand fastned, that they may not remove for the space of two Hours; For the second Fault, the Sam of one hundred Merks, or then the forenamed day; of their Imprisonment shall be doubled, their Food to be Bread and Water allenarly, and thereafter shall be presented to the Mercat-place, and the Heads of both the Man and the Woman to be Shaven. And for the third Fault, One hundred Pounds, or else the above Imprisonment to be Tripled, their Food to be Bread and Water allenarly; And thereafter to be taken to the deepest and foulest Pool or Water of the Town or Paroch, and there to be thrice Doucked, and then Banished the said Town and Paroch, for ever, and how oft any Person shall be Convict thereafter p. 20 of the said Vice of Fornication, that so oft the third Penalty be Execute upon them. Item, The Act Charles second, Parliament first, Cap. Thirty Eight, Impowering the Justices of Peace to put in Execution Acts of Parliament, for punishing the persons Guilty of Fornication, and that they cause them pay the Pecunial Sum; fallowing: Each Nobleman for the first Fault, Four hundred Pounds; Each Baron Two hundred Pounds; Each other Gentleman or Burges, One hundred Pounds. Every other person of Inferior Quality Ten Pounds Scots Money, and that these Penalties be doubled toties quoties, according to the Relapses, and Degrees of the Offence, and Quality of the Offenders; And that they be payed not only by tit. Man, but also by the Woman according to her Quality, and the Degree of her Offence, the one without prejudice of the other. Item, the said Act Charles second, Parliament first, Session first, Cap. thirty eight, Statutes, That the Justices of Peace put in Execution all Acts of Parliament for punishing all persons, who shall be Mockers, or Reproachers of Piety, or the Exercise thereof, and cause them pay the Penalties contained in the fore-mentioned Act of Parliament against prophane Swearing. Item, The Act of our first Parliament, Session fifth, Cap. Thirteenth, Entituled, Act against p. 21 Prophaneness, strictly requiring and enjoining, that all Sherifs and their Deputs, Stewarts and their Deputs, Baillies of Baillaries, and their Depots, Magistrats of Burghs-Royal, and Justices of Peace within whose Bounds any of the said Sins of Cursing, Swearing, Drunkenness, Fornication, Prophanation of the Lords Day, and Mocking and Reproaching of Religion shall happen to be committed, to put the saids Acts to exact and punctual Execution at all times, without necessity of any Dispensation, and against all persons, whether Officers, Soldiers or others without Exception; Certifying, that such of the saids Judges as shall refuse, neglect, or delay to put the Laws made against the said Sins in Execution, upon application of any Minister or Kirk-Session, or any person in their Name offering Information, and sufficient Probation, shall toties quoties be subject and liable to a Fine of an hundred pounds Scots, for which they may be pursued at the instance of the Agent of the Kirk, or Minister of the Paroch by summar Process, without the Order of the Roll. Item, the Twenty one Act of the second Session of the current Parliament, dated the nineteenth of July One thousand six hundred and ninety, Entituled, Act assent Murdering of Children, whereby It is Statute, That if any Woman p. 22 shall conceal her being with Child during the whole space, and shall not call for, and make use of Help and Assistance in the Birth, the Child being found Dead or Amissing, the Mother shall be holden and repute the Murderer of her own Child, tho there be no appearance of Bruise or Wound upon the Body of the Child. 1 All which Acts abovementioned are hereby ordered to be published only for superabundance, and the better Information of our Liedges, without the least derogation to other Acts or Laws not published in this manner. Our Will is Herefore, and we Charge you strictly and Command, that incontinent these our Letters seen ye pass to the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh, and to the remanent Mercat Crosses of the Head Burghs of the several Shires, and Stewartries within this Kingdom, and in Our Name and Authority make Publication hereof, that none may pretend Ignorance; And We Ordain Our Solicitor, to dispatch Copies hereof, to the Sherifs of the several Shires, and Stewarts of Stewartries and their Deputs or Clerks to be by them published at the Mercat Crosses of the Head Burghs upon Receit thereof, and immediately sent to the several Ministers, to the effect the same may be read and intimate at their Paroch Churches, upon the Lords Day immediately following p. 23 the Publication hereof at the said Mercat Crosses. And Ordains these Presents to be Printed and Published in manner foresaid.

"Given under Our Signet at Edinburgh the twenty fifth day of January, and of Our Reign the ninth year, 1698.

                "Per Actam Dominorum Secreti Concilii.

                                "Gilb. Eliot. Cls. Sci. Concilii."

v2_9:1 This is the Act on which Sir Walter Scott found his story of the "Finn of Mid-Lothian."

v2_29:* How many of our learned clergy could to-day question anyone in Greek, and how would many of our bishops feel if they knew that their reputations and lives depended on their carrying on a conversation in the languages of Hellas?

v2_30:* We learn from the "Démonomanie" that M. des Niau was the person here referred to in the first person, and therefore the writer of the book.

v2_31:* The text says: "Relevant jupes et chemise, montrant ses parties les plus secretes, sans honte, et se servant de mots lascifs. Ses gestes devinrent si grossiers que les témoins se cachaient la figure. Elle répétait, en s’ . . . . des mains, "Venez donc, f . . . . moi!

v2_34:* A curious case is mentioned in Arnot's Criminal Trials:—

"In 1697 an impostor appeared, in the character of a person tormented by witches, Christian Shaw, daughter of John Shaw of Bargarran, a gentleman of some note in the county of Renfrew. She is said to have been hut eleven years of age. And although it is probable that hysterical affections may in part have occasioned her rhaphsodies to proceed from real illusion, as well as accounted for the contortions which agitated her body; yet she seems to have displayed an artifice above her years, an address superior to her situation, and to have been aided by accomplices, which dulness of apprehension, or violence of prejudice, forbade the bystanders to discover.

"This actress was abundantly pert and lively; and p. 35 her challenging one of the house-maids for drinking, perhaps for stealing, a little milk, which drew on her an angry retort, was the simple prelude to a complicated and wonderful scene of artifice and delusion, of fanaticism and barbarity.

"In the month of August 1696, 1 within a few days after her quarrel with the house-maid, the girl was seized with hysterical convulsions, which in repeated fits displayed that variety of symptoms which characterise this capricious disease. To these, other appearances were speedily added, which could only to attributed to supernatural influence, or to fraud and imposition. She put out of her mouth quantities of egg-shells, orange-pill, feathers of wild, and bones of tame fowl, hair of various colours, hot coal-cinders, straws, crooked pins, &c.

"Having by those sensible objects impressed the publick with the most complete and fearful conviction of her being 'grievously vexed 2 with a Devil,' she found herself capable to command the implicit assent of the spectators, in matters that were repugnant to the evidence of their own senses. For this purpose, she fell upon the device of seeming to possess the p. 36 faculties of seeing and hearing, in a manner opposite to that of the rest of mankind. She would address some invisible beings as if actually present; at other times, in her conversations with those invisible beings, she would rail at them for telling her that persons actually present were in the room; protesting that she did not see them, yet at the same time minutely describing their dress. For instance, she spake as follows to the chief of her alledged tormentors, Catherine Campbell, with whom she had the quarrel, and who, to use the language of those times, was not discernibly present: 'Thou sittest with a stick in thy hand to put into my mouth, but thorough God's strength thou shalt not get leave: Thou art permitted to torment me, but I trust in God thou shalt never get my life. I'll let thee see, Kattie, there is no repentance in hell. O what ailed thee to be a witch! Thou sayest it is but three nights since thou wast a witch. O, if thou would’st repent, it may be God might give thee repentance, if thou would'st seek it, and confess; if thou would desire me, I would do what I could; for the Devil is an ill master to serve,' &c. &c. After that, she took up her Bible, read passages, and expounded them; and, upon one's offering to take it from her, she shrieked horribly, exclaiming, 'She would keep her Bible in spite of all the Devils p. 37 in hell!' Then she fought, and kicked, and writhed herself, as if struggling with some invisible tormentor. When the sheriff-depute of the county, accompanied by a macer of Justiciary, carne to apprehend some of the persons whom her diabolical malice had accused, and were actually in her presence, she addressed an imaginary and invisible correspondent thus: 'Is the sheriff come? Is he near me?' (Then stretching forth her hand, as if to grope, and the sheriff putting his hand into hers, she proceeded:) 'I cannot feel the sheriff. How can he be present here? or how can I have him by the hand, as thou sayest, seeing I feel it not? Thou sayest he has brown coloured cloaths, red plush breeches, with black stripes, flowered muslin cravat, and an embroidered sword-belt: Thou sayest there is an old gray haired man with him, having a ring upon his hand; but I can neither see nor feel any of them. What, are they come to apprehend the gentlewoman? Is this their errand indeed?'

"These reiterated and aweful exercises of the dominion of Satan (for such they were universally deemed), impressed all ranks with amazement and terror. The clergy, as was their duty, were the foremost to embrace the cause of a disciple that was engaged in more than spiritual warfare with the grand enemy. Clergymen, by rotation, attended the afflicted p. 38 damsel, to assist the minister of the parish, the family of Bargarran, and other pious Christians, in the expiatory offices of fasting and prayer. A publick fast was ordained by authority of the presbytery. Three popular clergymen successively harangued the trembling audience; and one of them chose for his theme this awful text, "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea, for the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast down unto the earth, he persecuted the woman." 3 And the prayers and exhortations of the church were speedily seconded with the weight of the secular arm.

"On the 19th of January, a warrant of Privy Council was issued, 4 which set forth, that there were pregnant grounds of suspicion of witchcraft in the shire of Renfrew, especially from the afflicted aril extraordinary condition of Christian Shaw, daughter of John Shaw of Bargarran. It therefore granted commission to Alexander Lord Blantyre, Sir John Maxwell of Pollock, Sir John Shaw of Greenock, William Cunnyngham of Craigens, Alexander Porterfield of Duchall, —— Caldwall of Glanderstoun, Gavin p. 39 Cochrane of Thornlymuir, Alexander Porterfield of Fullwaod, and Robert Semple sheriff-depute of Renfrew, or any five of them, to interrogate and imprison persons suspected of witchcraft, to examine witnesses, &c. but not upon oath, and to transmit their report before the 10th of March. The act of Privy Council is subscribed thus, 'Polwarth Cancellar, Argyle, Leven, Forfar, Raith, Belhaven, Ja. Steuart, J. Hope, W. Anstruther, J. Maxwell, Ro. Sinclair.'

"In the report which was presented on the 9th of March, the commissioners represented that there were 'twenty-four persons male and female suspected and accused of witchcraft,' and that further inquiry ought to be made into this crime. Among these unhappy objects of suspicion, it is to be remarked, that there was 'a girl of fourteen, and a boy not twelve years of age.' Agreeable to this report, a new warrant was issued by the Privy Council to most of the commissioners formerly named, with the addition of Lord Hallcraig, Mr. Francis Montgomery of Giffin, Sir John Houston of that Ilk, Mr John Kincaid of Corsbasket, Advocate, and Mr John Stewart younger of Blackhall, Advocate, or any five of them, to meet at Renfrew, Paisley, or Glasgow, to take trial of judge, and do justice upon the foresaid persons; and to sentence the guilty 'to be burned or otherwise executed to death, p. 40 ordained the commissioners to transmit to the Court of Justiciary an authentick extract of their proceedings, to be entered upon its records; and contained a recommendation to the Lords of the Treasury to defray the expences of the trial. The act is subscribed, Polwarth Cancellar. Douglass, Lauderdale, Annandale, Yester, Kintore, Carmichael, W. Anstruther, Arch. Mure.'

"The commissioners, thus empowered, were not remiss in acting under the authority delegated to them. After twenty hours were spent in the examination of witnesses, who gave testimony that the malefices 5 libelled could not have proceeded from natural causes, and that the prisoners were the authors of these malefices.—After five of the unhappy prisoners confessed their own guilt, and criminated their alledged associates—after counsel had been heard on both sides, and the counsel for the prosecution had declared, that 'he would not press the jury with the ordinary severity of threatening an assize of error:6 But recommended to them to proceed according to the evidence; and p. 41 loudly declared to them, that although they ought to beware of condemning the innocent, yet if they should acquit the prisoners, in opposition to legal evidence, 'they would be accessory to all the blasphemies, apostacies, murders, tortures, and seductions, whereof these enemies of heaven and earth should hereafter be guilty.' After the jury had spent six hours in deliberation, seven of those miserable persons were condemned to the flames. 7

"The time however fast approached, when these human sacrifices were to be abolished. The last person who was prosecuted before the Lords of Justiciary for witchcraft was Elspeth Rule, who was tried before Lord Anstruther at the Dumfries circuit, on the 3d of May, 1709. 8 No special act of witchcraft was charged against her; the indictment was of a very general nature, that the prisoner was 'habit and repute' 9 p. 42 (that is, generally holden and deemed) a witch; and that she had used threatening expressions against persons at enmity with her, who were afterwards visited with the loss of cattle, or the death of friends, and one of whom run mad. The jury, by a majority of voices, found these articles proved, and the Judge ordained the prisoner to be burned on the cheek, and to be banished Scotland for life. The last person who was brought to the stake in Scotland for the crime of witchcraft was condemned by Captain David Ross of Little Daan 10 sheriff-depute of Sutherland, A.D. 1722.

"Besides in the sufferings, and tragical end of the persons already specified, human ingenuity seems to have been exhausted in devising variety of torment, against other persons who lay under the suspicion of witchcraft, and who persisted, with astonishing fortitude, in denying the absurd imputation, even when urged with the sharpest tortures. p. 43

From the universal and excessive abhorrence entertained at a witch, a suspicion of that crime, independent of judicial severities, 11 was sufficient to render the unhappy object anxious for death.—Thrusting of pins into the flesh, and keeping the accused from sleep, were the ordinary treatment of a witch. But if the prisoner was endued with uncommon fortitude, other methods were used to extort confession. The 'boots,' the 'caspie-claws,' and the 'pilniewinks, engines for torturing the legs, the arms, and the fingers, were applied to either sex; and that with such violence, that sometimes the blood would have spouted from the limbs. Loading with heavy irons, and whipping with cords, till the skin and flesh were torn from the bones, have also been the adopted methods of torment.

The bloody zeal of those inquisitors attained to a refinement in cruelty so shocking to humanity, 12 and so p. 44 repugnant to justice, as to be almost incredible. Not satisfied with torturing the person of the accused, their ingenious malice assailed the more delicate feelings, and ardent affections of the mind. An aged husband, an infant daughter, would have been tortured in presence of the accused, in order to subdue her resolution.—Nay, death itself 13 did not screen the remains of those miserable persons from the malice of their prosecutors. If an unfortunate woman, trembling at a citation for witchcraft, ended her sufferings by her own hands, she was dragged from her house at a horse's tail, and buried under the gallows.

v2_34:1 p. 35 True narrative of the sufferings and relief of a young girl. Edinburgh, printed by James Watson, 1698.

v2_34:2 St. Matthew, c. 15, v. 22.

v2_34:3 p. 38 Revelations, chap, 12.

v2_34:4 Records of Privy Council, January 19. March 9. April 5 1697.

v2_34:5 p. 40 "Malefice," in the Scots law signifies an act or effect of witchcraft.

v2_34:6 This was an oblique and most scandalous menace. "Assizes of Error" were declared a grievance by the Estates of Parliament at the Revolution.

v2_34:7 p. 41 The order of Privy Council for recording the Commissioners’ proceedings in the books of Justiciary was not complied with. I am therefore unable to give any further particulars of the catastrophe of these miserable persons, or of the criminal absurdity of those who committed them to the flames.

v2_34:8 Records of Circuit Court of Justiciary, holden at Dumfries May 3, 1709.

v2_34:9 "Habit and repute" is a very dangerous doctrine of the law of Scotland, at that time in full force, by which a man might be hanged altho’ hardly any charge were exhibited against him, but that he had a bad character. For instance, if a man was charged with stealing a pair of old shoes, value threepence, and with being p. 42 "habit and repute" a thief, if the jury found such indictment proved, or such prisoner guilty, the Court would by law be bound to sentence the prisoner to be hanged; if my temerity may be pardoned, for supposing that any such thing exists as a precise established ruin of criminal law in Scotland.

v2_34:10 It is no small disappointment to me that I cannot lay this trial before the reader. The Sheriff Court books of the county of Sutherland were carried off by the Sheriff Clerk about 1735. I am somewhat however consoled for my disappointment, by the politeness shown me by James Traill, Esq. of Hobbister, Advocate, Sheriff-depute of Caithness and Sutherland, who was so obliging as to make a laborious but ineffectual search to recover the books.

v2_34:11 Mackenzie s Criminal Trials, tit. Witchcraft.

v2_34:12 Records of Justiciary, June 24. 1596. When Alison Balfour was accused of witchcraft, she was put in the caspie-claws, where she was kept forty-eight hours; her husband was put in heavy irons, her son put in the boots, where he suffered fifty-seven strokes, and her little daughter, of about seven years of age, put its the pilniewinks, in her presence, in order to make her confess.—She did confess.—She retracted her confession in the course of the trial; and publickly, at p. 44 her execution, declared that the confession was extorted from her by the torments.—The mode of tormenting and executing those miserable women is further illustrated by the authentic account of the expence of burning a witch at Burncastle, near Lauder, A.D. 1649.

v2_34:13 Fountainhall's Decisions, vol. I. p. 6o. October 9, 1679.

Next: Part III