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The sequel of this shocking affair is, that, Huxley being dead, the girl voided no more stones.
Glanvil, F.R.S. and chaplain in ordinary to the King, wrote “Saducismus Triumphatus, or full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions ;" the second edition of which was published in 1682. This gentleman's work and Mr. Baxter's, appearing not long after each other, serves to prove how very prevalent this madness was, which might indeed be traced from the King and the Protector down to the very dustman. Indeed, these labours in the aggregate furnish so many instances of what may be called legal murder of women, that we close their books with abhorrence, arising from the superstitious malice of the accuser, the enormity of the judges, and the wickedness of the juries, who brought so many wretches to an untimely end.
Samuel Clarke gives a curious specimen of his own superstition, and, by inference, that of his contemporary readers, in the succeeding anecdote.- Master White of Dorchester, being a member of the Assembly of Divines, was appointed minister of Lambeth ; but, for the present, could get no convenient house to dwell in, but one that was possessed by the devil: this he took; and not long after, his maid sitting up late, the devil appeared to her, whereupon, in a great
fright, fright, she ran up to tell her master; he bid her go to bed, saying, she was well served for sitting up so late. Presently after, the devil appeared to Master White himself, standing at his bed feet: to whom Master White said, “ If thou hast nothing else to do, thou mayst stand there still, and I will betake myself to my rest ;" and accordingly, composing himself to sleep, the devil vanished.
In the Sermons of Dr. Bolton may be found a most curious anecdote of bigoted superstition.Lady. Honeywood, terrified by a misconception of the Scriptures, or affected with mental infirmity, despaired of obtaining salvation, after having used a spell to cure her of some disease. The Divine was one day endeavouring to remove this unhappy fancy, when, with a frantic air, she seized a Venice glass, and, dashing it from her, exclaimed, “I shall as certainly be damned as this glass will be broken.” Contrary to all rational supposition, the glass was not broken. Still the slave of superstition, she became calm and placid: she was not to be damned. I need not add the glass was carefully preserved.
A second instance of the superstition of Oliver Cromwell has been mentioned by Aubrey, or perhaps he was less superstitious than artful:—A Divine impulse occurring before the hour of battle was an useful hint to his officers and soldiers, that victory would attend their exertions. Colonel J. P. told Aubrey that a fit of laughter seized
Cromwell before the battle of Naseby, similar to one which he experienced before that of Dunbar, when “ he did laugh so excessively as if he had been drunk ; his eyes sparkled with spirits. He obtained a great victory, but the action was said to be contrary to human prudence.”
Richard Saunders, student in astrology and physick, did all in his power to perpetuate the blind superstition of his forefathers by publishing several works, particularly “ The Astrological Judgement and Practice of Physick, deduced from the position of the heavens at the decumbiture of the sick persons; Palmistry, the secrets thereof disclosed; and Physiognomie and Chiromancie, 1653.”—The absurdity, presumption, and folly, of this man, his learning and research, offer a melancholy picture of the perversion of talents and acquirements, directed to maintain all the unpleasant consequences felt by the mass of the community, through their belief in the occult sciences. Lilly lived to see these works spread in every direction, and more than once recommended them: for instance, “Being now (by the mercy of a most gracious God) arrived to my 76th year current; and of late years having passed through much sickness and affliction of body (which has too much decayed my sight), it cannot be expected that I should oblige the world with any thing of this subject, which once I had thoughts to have attempted; and not only enlarged the
judgements upon the sixth house in
Introduction (which, as it is, is sufficient for the instruc-, tion of any young student); but also to have communicated to the grateful sons of art divers remarkable experiments in the astrological considerations of diseases from the decumbiture of the sick, touching life and death,” &c.
“I hope, therefore, this most elaborate work of my old friend may instead thereof be accepted; in which, I find, he has (to his great commendation) taken much pains to good purpose, and in every branch thereof is very copious and no less perspicuous, both in the theory and practical part (which hitherto has been neglected by most authors that have undertaken this task in the English tongue); so that I may, without the least partiality, affirm the work to be the most complete and perfect of any of the subject I have hitherto seen or read; and do heartily rejoice (though now in my declining years) to see so learned a production proceed from an English pen. In fine, the work deserves commendation, and I do really approve thereof, and recommend it to the serious study and perusal of all the noble students of this kingdom ; which now I live to see abounds with many hopeful and ingenious persons, that are not only lovers of but students in the syderal science ; notwithstanding the contempt and opposition it has met withal from some busy sciolists as ignorant as envious. Whence I conclude, this most useful and harmless art may, in few years,
arrive to great perfection, and consequently daily meet with eminent and noble favourites to protect it from calumny and detraction ; though I dare not affirm (as that bold Pretender lately did) that Ptolemy is now become as demonsttable to the senses as Euclid.
“ Much more might be said, but the work speaks its own praise, and I do but hold a candle to the sun. I shall, therefore, conclude with that old proverb, “Good wine needs no bash. Vale, your old friend and faithful propagator of astrology
* WILLIAM LILLY.” “ From my house in Horsham, in the parish of Walton upon Thames, 1677."
A plate from the work on Chiromancy is annexed, to explain the ridiculous and unmeaning distribution of the signs over the hands, which would puzzle a modern Gypsey : as to the explanations given by the author, were we to repeat them, it would indeed be holding a candle to the
Saunders pursued his design in a treatise on moles; and, without doubt, his one hundred and fourteen examples, with their prognostics, served to introduce or continue a custom in the inhabitants of London of examining whether nature had lavished any on them.
Thomas Bromhall, with indefatigable assiduity, collected an amazing number of antient and mo