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We two should stand under Heaven's wide cope And breathe love's vow and pray love's prayer, Ere one go away to a golden hope,
And one to a dull despair ?
How well I can see the face that will shine
So easily understood !
Yes, there are no deep thoughts, poor child,
You just love and are true.
And I, the man doubt-driven, tossed From wave to wave as each false light lures, 'Twas a strange, sad fate, Christine, that crossed
My life's dark line with yours !
And yet, God knows, I thought till now
Whose final funeral knell
I thought had been rung by an iron fate
And crown my life at last !
But now her letter! I have it here.
Home like a wounded bird !
Almost the hour! She lingers late.
will not do her wrong.
No; she will come, and we shall stand
Just once before I go.
Will she forgive me, my poor Christine ?
That suits that calm blue eye ?
Well, I shall know in a moment now,
How long you have made me wait !
WITCHCRAFT IN EARLY MARYLAND.
HAT a bishop of the Church of England should be found,
scarcely three hundred years ago, uttering in a sermon before the Queen such words as these, is strange :-" It may please your Grace to understand that witches and sorcerers within ihese four last years are marvellously increased in your Grace's realm. Your Grace's subjects pine away even unto death, their colour fadeth, their Hesh rotteth, their speech is benumbed, their senses are bereft. I pray God they never practise further than upon the subject." Stranger still, and revolting in the extreme, that men and women have been directly and personally accused of producing similar enchantments upon others, and have suffered for that ridiculous and unfounded accusation, death in its most horrible forms. Our own country has not been free from this disreputable persecution of persons who were often deluded into the singular belief that they were themselves what others persecuted them for — witches.
Maryland, it seems, has not had authoritatively recorded against sher a single execution for alleged witchcraft; and she, too, was a com:monwealth while the Salem witch-mania was in existence, and men and women were paying the penalty of their lives for the hallucinalions of a deluded community. The first settlers of America brought :with them from Europe a belief in the existence of witches. Between 1648 and 1655, six or eight alleged witches were executed in the Colonies. In 1688 an old half-witted Irishwoman was executed in Massachusetts as a witch. The mania broke out in all its fury in that colony in 1692. The pulpit, the bench, and the college were represented among the believers of this delusion. In one year nineteen people were hanged, and one pressed to death, on the charge of witchcraft; one hundred and fifty more were in prison, waiting to be tried; two hundred more were accused, while a large number suspected of witchcraft had fled the country. The ridiculous evidence upon which individuals were executed during the Salem witchcraft mania, and patent inability of the accused to refute the charges made against them, strike one with surprise and awe. The learned of Europe actually were generally believers in this superstition down to the close of the seventeenth century.
While other colonies were persecuting supposed practisers of the art of witchcraft, Maryland appears to have called to judicial account one who was in a measure forced by his superstitious sailors to permit the execution of an alleged witch upon his vessel on the high seas. Farther yet did her enlightened settlers go. They held the calling of one a witch to be the subject of judicial investigation, and a suit is recorded in her court proceedings where an action for slander had been instituted against one man for calling another man's wise a witch. For these trials we are indebted to two quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore " of rare date, preserved among the archives of Maryland. These contain the odds and ends of court proceedings in ihe province, transacted at the assizes held at St. Marie's, the time of which, with some of the records, runs as far back as 1637 — but three years after the settlement of the colony. These volumes are pronounced the exact transcript of older books which are mouldering with their weight of years in the Land Office at Annapolis. In many instances the records are incomplete, but there is enough remaining to give an insight into the quaint proceedings of those curious times.
In one of these volumes are found the deposititions of two witnesses, 1 which throw some light upon the hanging of an alleged witch in the good ship Charity. The records make no distinct mention of the trial of any one for perpetrating this outrage ; but, by inference, it appears an inquiry was made into the conduct upon that occasion of the master of the vessel, John Bosworih. The depositions of these two witnesses, Messrs. Henry Corbyne and Francis Darby, are all that is giver, and there is no judgment recorded. The records, capitalisation and orthography theirs, say:
“ The Deposition of Mr. Henry Corbyne of London, Merchant, aged about 25 yeares, Sworne and Examined in the Province of Maryland, before the Governour and Councell there, (whose Names are hereunto subscribed,) the 23th day of June, Anno Domini 1654, saith :
". That, at Sea, upon his, this Deponent's, Voyage hither in the Ship called the Charity of London, Mr. John Bosworth being Master, and about a fortnight or three weeks before the said Ship's arrivall in this Province of Maryland, or before A Rumour amongst the seamen was very frequent that one Mary Lee, then aboard the said ship, was a witch, the said seamen confidently affirming the same upon her own deportment and discourse, and then more earnestly ihan before, Importuned the said Master, that a tryall might be hail of her, which he, the said Master, Mr. Bosworth, refused, but resolved, as he expressed,) to put her ashore upon the Barmudoes, but Cross Winds prevented, and the Ship grew daily more Leaky, almost to desparation, and the Chiese Seamen often declared their Resolution of Leaving her, if an opportunity offered it self, which aforesaid Reasons put the the Master upon a Consultation with Mr. Chip ham and this Deponent, and it was thought fitt, considering our said Cordition, to Satisfie
the Seamen, in a way of trying her according to the Usuall Custome in that kind, whether she were a witch or not, and endeavored, by way of delay, to have the Commanders of other ships aboard ; but stormy weather prevented. In the interime two of the seamen apprehended her without Order, and searched her, and found Some Signall or Marke of a witch upon her, and then calling the Master, Mr. Chipsham, and this deponent, with others to see it, afterwards made her fast to the capstall betwixt decks, and in the morning, the Signall was shrunk into her body for the Most part. And an examination was thereupon importuned by the seaman, which this deponent was desired to take. Whereupon she confessed, as by her Confession appeareth ; and upon that, the Seamen Importuned the Said Master to put to Death, (which as it seemed he was unwilling to do,) and went into his Cabbinn, but being more vehemently pressed to it, he tould them they might do what they would, and went into the Cabbinn, and some time before they were about that action, he desired the deponent to acquaint them that they should doo no more, then what they Should Justifie, which they said they would doo by laying all their hands in general to the Execution of her. All which herein before expressed, or the same in effect, this Deponent averreth upon his oath to be true, and further sayeth not.
HENRY CORBYNE. Sworne before us the day and Year above Written.
The same day, and before the same, Francis Darby, Esq., made his deposition that “upon the Same day, that one Mary Lee was put to Death aboard the Said Ship as a Witch, he, the said Mr. Bosworth, seeing him, this deponent, backward to assist in the examination of her, asked this Deponent why; and tould him he was preplext about the business, seeing he did not know how he might doo it by the Law of England. Afterwards this deponent . . . heard the same Mr. Bosworth give order that nothing should be done concerning the said Mary Lee, without speaking first with him, and after she was put to death or Executed, to the best of this Deponent's remembrance, he said he knew nothing of it, And this Deponent saith, that they were in an adjoining room when they treated about the business, as this deponent could not perceive anything either by Word or Deed whereby he gave order for her execution, or putting to Death, as after this, he commanded that they should do nothing without his order, and alsoon after the Execution, expressed he knew not of it, for that this Deponent hearing those words, ( she is dead ') ran out, and asked, “Who was dead ?' and it was replied, “the witch.' Then this Deponent entered the next room, and said, “they have hanged her,' and then the said Bosworth, the captain, as it were speaking with trouble in his voyce, replyed he knew not of it. All which hereinbefore expressed or the same in effect, the Deponent averreth on his oath to be true and further sayeth not.”
The Court's judgment is not recorded.
2 “At the Court holden for the Province of Md., the 6th day of Oct., 1654," the following proceedings were had, by which will be seen calling one a witch in those days was not to be tolerated :
“Barko Herringe, aged forty yeares or thereabouts, sworne, saith, that Peter Godson and Richard Manship meeting in your Settlers' plantation, Richard Manship asked the Said Peter Godson whether he would prove his wife a Witch. Peter replied, 'take notice what I say; I came to your house, where your wife layed two straws, and the woman, in a Jesting way, said, “they say I am a witch; if I am a witch, they say I have not power to skip over these two straws,' and bid the same Peter Godson to skip over them. About a day after, the said Peter Godson said he was Lame, and therefore would maintain his wife to be a witch!
BARKO HERRINGE. "John Killey, aged twenty-five yeares or thereabouts, sworne, saith, that at the house of Philip Hide, Richard Manship said to Peter Godson, 'you said you
prove my wife a Witch. Peter Godson answered, 'Gentlemen, TAKE NOTICE, I say I will prove her a witch, become witness you that stand by.'
John Killey. "Margaret Herringe, aged twenty-three, or thereabouts (bad custos for the ladies), sworne, saith, that Richard Manship asked Peter Godson if he would prove his wife a Witch, and Peter desired them that were present to take notice that he said, 'Your wife took four straws, and said in the name of Jesus, Come over these straws, and upon this your wife is a witch, and I will prove her one.''
After this witness the following entry of the amicable settlement of the action is made, the superstitious yet cautious Peter showing either a forgiving spirit or a wholesome fear of the law :-"Whereas, Peter Godson and his wife had defamed Richard Manship’s wife, in saying, She was a witch, and uttered other slanderous speeches against her, which was composed and delivered by the plaintiff and defendant, before Mr. Richard Preston, soo as Peter Godson should pay charges of warrant and subpænas in these actions, which Richard Manship desired may be manifested in Court that the said Peter Godson and his wife have acknowledged themselves sorry for their speeches, and pay charges."
The nearest approach to an execution on the charge of witchcraft, 3 as far as we have been enabled to learn, was reached in Maryland in 1674. The author of the work to which we are indebted for the following extract, The Annals of Annapolis, was Mr. David Ridgely, State Librarian of Maryland for a number of years. He expressed
a the hope and belief that it was “the only judicial transaction of its kind to be found upon” the pages of the journals of the body from whence it was taken. It reads :
“UPPER House, Feb, 17, 1674. “Came into this House a petition of the Lower House, as followeth, viz:
“To the honorable Charles Calvert, Esq., Lieutenant General and Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of the Right Honorable the Lord Proprietary:
"The humble petition of the Deputies and Delegates of the Lower House of Assembly,