Witchcraft in Early North America (American Controversies)
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Witchcraft in Early North America investigates European, African, and Indian witchcraft beliefs and their expression in colonial America. Alison Games's engaging book takes us beyond the infamous outbreak at Salem, Massachusetts, to look at how witchcraft was a central feature of colonial societies in North America. Her substantial and lively introduction orients readers to the subject and to the rich selection of documents that follows. The documents begin with first encounters between European missionaries and Native Americans in New France and New Mexico, and they conclude with witch hunts among Native Americans in the years of the early American republic. The documents—some of which have never been published previously—include excerpts from trials in Virginia, New Mexico, and Massachusetts; accounts of outbreaks in Salem, Abiquiu (New Mexico), and among the Delaware Indians; descriptions of possession; legal codes; and allegations of poisoning by slaves. The documents raise issues central to legal, cultural, social, religious, and gender history. This fascinating topic and the book’s broad geographic and chronological coverage make this book ideally suited for readers interested in new approaches to colonial history and the history of witchcraft.
God, and thus all the more vulnerable to the attractions of the Devil. And then, Weyer argued, these confused and addled women, with their weak minds penetrated by Satan, ended up confessing to things that they could not possibly have done. Weyer condemned those Christians who subjected such troubled women, solely on the basis of their confessions, to terrible imprisonment and tortures.225 If misogyny encouraged most of Weyer’s contemporaries to follow the lead of the Malleus Maleficarum and to
space of six howers after which time good wiefe Wright desired her dame to aske the woman why she did not gett her gone, wheruppon the witche fell downe on her knees and asked her forgivenes and saide her hande was in the Chirne, and could not stire before her maide lifted upp the staffe of the Chirne, which the saide good wiefe Wright did, and the witch went awaye but to her perseverance the witch had both her handes at libertie, and this good wiefe Wright affirmteh to be trewe. Fourther Mrs
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 Seamen which this Deponent was desired to take
I doe conceive & am of the opinion that the charge or accusation is too general that the county court ought to make a further Examinacon of the matters of fact & to have proceeded therein pursuant to the directions & powers of County Courts given by a late act of Assembly in criminal cases made & provided & if they thought there was sufficient cause to have (according to that Law) committed her to the Generall prison of this Colony whereby it would have come regularly before the Generall Court
why did they punish enslaved poisoners so viciously? What similarities and differences do you see between these laws and documents 6 and 7? 1740 And whereas, some crimes and offences of an enormous nature and of the most pernicious consequence, may be committed by slaves, as well as other persons, which being peculiar to the condition and situation of this Province, could not fall within the provision of the laws of England; Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the