The imp or the familiar of the witches in Matthew Hopkins’ The Discovery of Witches

The imp or familiar (spirit) is wat modern magic termes a servitor, artificial elemental or Elementar. The last being a specially created elemental according to a technique – using the Elements Fire, Air, Water and Earth – described by Franz Bardon in his work Der Weg zum wahren Adepten. A servitor –  by the old school of magic still called a thought form – can be created using, your own energy; meaning loading it with energy, projected from your own body, or by using your imagination to fill it with energy – thereby NOT using your body as a channel. This last form of servitor is also called a contruct. Finally a servitor can be drawn into any object or even stored in your own body, to release at a certain command. It all depends on wat function your creation has to fulfill. 

 

Servitors - @ Benjamin Adamah 2021

Servitors – @ Benjamin Adamah 2021

 

An imp or a familiar is a special type of servitor and, when used for several years daily, the strongest, measured in effectiveness and density. Familiars or imps can be condensed to the point where they become visible even to those with weak clairvoyant abilities. It is also possible to feed your familiar the essence of “food” in a way offerings are made to deities in certain religions, orishas in Santeria and akin religions or loas in voodoo.

One of the most weird and controversial texts on the subject of imps was written by the Britisch witch persecutor Matthew Hopkins, also know as the Witchfinder General in 1647. Several imps or familiars are described, supposedly belonging to of Elizabeth Clarke. Supposedly, as we have no direct access to the reality of this poor old woman – only what a psychopath wrote down two years after he tortured her for days “for the benefit” of the nation.

 

Elizabeth Clarke
imps or familiars in the discovery of witches

Print of the Frontispiece from Matthew Hopkins’ The Discovery of Witches (1647), showing witches identifying their familiar spirits

Elizabeth Clarke (c. 1565–1645), alias Bedinfield, was the first woman persecuted by the Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins in 1645 in Essex, England. At 80 years old, she was accused of witchcraft by local tailor John Rivet. Hopkins and John Stearne took on the role of investigators, stating that they had seen familiars while watching her. During the process, she was deprived of sleep for multiple nights before confessing and implicating other women in the local area. She was tried at Chelsford assizes, before being hanged for witchcraft.

Elizabeth Clarke, also known as Bedinfield, was accused of cursing the wife of Manningtree tailor, John Rivet during the winter of 1643. A lynch mob brought her to Sir Harbottle Grimston, her landowner, who decided that she should be tried. Matthew Hopkins, assisted by John Stearne and Mary Phillipps, took up the role of investigator and prosecutor, known as “Watcher”.

Although torture was illegal in England, suspected witches were subject to scrutiny by their Watchers. In Clarke’s case, Hopkins and colleagues including John Stearne watched her for several days and nights without allowing her to sleep. After this treatment, Hopkins claimed to have witnessed Clarke summoning familiars, imps in animal form. During this ordeal, Clarke implicated other women from Manningtree, Anne West and her daughter Rebecca, Anne Leech, Helen Clarke, and Elizabeth Gooding as well as women from other villages. Clarke stated that she had been brought into witchcraft by Anne West, who took pity on her due to her poverty and only having one leg. The women discovered by Hopkins were tried at Chelmsford assizes on 17 July 1645. Elizabeth then confessed due to the persuading, forcing and imprisonment, this led to 35 women who were accused and put to prison.

 

Matthew Hopkins
Illustration of Matthew Hopkins - imps

Illustration of Matthew Hopkins

Matthew Hopkins (? – 12 August 1647) was an English witch-hunter whose career flourished during the English Civil War. He claimed to hold the office of Witchfinder General, although that title was never bestowed by Parliament. His activities mainly took place in East Anglia.

Hopkins’ witch-finding career began in March 1644 and lasted until his retirement in 1647. He and his associates were responsible for more people being hanged for witchcraft than in the previous 100 years, and were solely responsible for the increase in witch trials during those years. He is believed to have been responsible for the executions of over 100 alleged witches between the years 1644 and 1646.

The witch-hunts undertaken by Hopkins and an associate of his John Stearne, mainly took place in East Anglia, in the counties of Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, with a few in the counties of Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire. They extended throughout the area of strongest Puritan and Parliamentarian influences which formed the powerful and influential Eastern Association from 1644 to 1647, which was centred on Essex. Both Hopkins and Stearne would have required some form of letters of safe conduct to be able to travel throughout the counties. John Stearne (c. 1610–1670) was like Hopkins a self-styled witch-hunter active during the English Civil War. Stearne was known at various times as the witch-hunter, and “witch pricker.

According to his book The Discovery of Witches, Hopkins began his career as a witch-finder after he overheard women discussing their meetings with the Devil in March 1644 in Manningtree. In fact, the first accusations were made by Stearne, and Hopkins was appointed as his assistant. Twenty-three women were accused of witchcraft and were tried at Chelmsford in 1645. With the English Civil War under way, this trial was conducted not by justices of assize, but by justices of the peace presided over by the Earl of Warwick. Four died in prison and nineteen were convicted and hanged. During this period, excepting Middlesex and chartered towns, no records show any person charged of witchcraft being sentenced to death other than by the judges of the assizes.

 

Demonology and Devil-Lore 1

 

pricking instruments of witch hunters - imp

Pricking instruments of witch hunters. Illustration from The Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scott

Hopkins and Stearne, accompanied by the women who performed the pricking, were soon travelling over eastern England, claiming to be officially commissioned by Parliament to uncover and prosecute witches. Together with their female assistants, they were well paid for their work, and it has been suggested that this was a motivation for his actions. Hopkins states that “his fees were to maintain his company with three horses”, and that he took “twenty shillings a town”. The records at Stowmarket show their costs to the town to have been £23 (£3,800 as of 2021) plus his travelling expenses.

The cost to the local community of Hopkins and his company were such that, in 1645, a special local tax rate had to be levied in Ipswich. Parliament was well aware of Hopkins and his team’s activities, as shown by the concerned reports of the Bury St Edmunds witch trials of 1645. Before the trial, a report was carried to the Parliament – “as if some busie men had made use of some ill Arts to extort such confession” – that a special Commission of Oyer and Terminer was granted for the trial of these witches. After the trial and execution the Moderate Intelligencer, a parliamentary paper published during the English Civil War, in an editorial of 4–11 September 1645 expressed unease with the affairs in Bury.

 

The influence of King James’ Daemonology

Methods of investigating witchcraft heavily drew inspiration from the Daemonologie of King James, which was directly cited in Hopkins’ The Discovery of Witches. Although torture was nominally unlawful in England, Hopkins often used techniques such as sleep deprivation to extract confessions from his victims. He would also cut the arm of the accused with a blunt knife, and if she did not bleed, she was said to be a witch. Another of his methods was the swimming test, based on the idea that as witches had renounced their baptism, water would reject them. Suspects were tied to a chair and thrown into water: all those who “swam” (floated) were considered to be witches. Hopkins was warned against the use of “swimming” without receiving the victim’s permission first. This led to the legal abandonment of the test by the end of 1645.

King James Daemonologie - imp

King James’Daemonologie was of influence om Hopkins’ methods.

Hopkins and his assistants also looked for the Devil’s mark. This was a mark that all witches or sorcerers were thought to possess that was said to be dead to all feeling and would not bleed – although it was sometimes a mole, birthmark or an extra nipple or breast. If the suspected witch had no such visible marks invisible ones could be discovered by pricking. Therefore, “witch prickers” were employed, who pricked the accused with knives and special needles looking for such marks, normally after the suspect had been shaved of all body hair. It was believed that the witch’s familiar, an animal such as a cat or dog, would drink the witch’s blood from the mark, as a baby drinks milk from the nipple.

Hopkins and his company ran into opposition very soon after the start of their work, but one of his main antagonists was John Gaule, vicar of Great Staughton in Huntingdonshire. Gaule had attended a woman from St Neots who was held in gaol charged with witchcraft until such time as Hopkins could attend. Upon hearing that the woman had been interviewed, Hopkins wrote a letter to a contact asking whether he would be given a “good welcome”. Gaule hearing of this letter wrote his publication Select Cases of Conscience touching Witches and Witchcrafts; London, (1646) – dedicated to Colonel Walton of the House of Commons – and began a programme of Sunday sermons to suppress witch-hunting.

In Norfolk both Hopkins and Stearne were questioned by justices of the assizes about the torturing and fees. Hopkins was asked if methods of investigation did not make the finders themselves witches, and if with all his knowledge did he not also have a secret, or had used “unlawful courses of torture”. By the time this court session resumed in 1647 Stearne and Hopkins had retired, Hopkins to Manningtree and Stearne to Bury St Edmunds.

 

Impact of Hopkins on Salem

Hopkins’ witch-hunting methods were outlined in his book The Discovery of Witches, which was published in 1647. These practices were recommended in law books. During the year following the publication of Hopkins’ book, trials and executions for witchcraft began in the New England colonies with the hanging of Alse Young of Windsor, Connecticut on May 26, 1647, followed by the conviction of Margaret Jones. As described in the journal of Governor John Winthrop, the evidence assembled against Margaret Jones was gathered by the use of Hopkins’ techniques of “searching” and “watching”.

Jones’ execution was the first in a witch-hunt that lasted in New England from 1648 until 1663. About eighty people throughout New England were accused of practising witchcraft during that period, of whom fifteen women and two men were executed. Some of Hopkins’ methods were once again employed during the Salem Witch Trials, which occurred primarily in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692–93. These trials resulted in 19 executions for witchcraft, one man, Giles Corey, pressed to death for refusing to plead, and 150 imprisonments.

 

Death and legacy

Matthew Hopkins died at his home in Manningtree, Essex, on 12 August 1647, probably of pleural tuberculosis. He was buried a few hours after his death in the graveyard of the Church of St Mary at Mistley Heath. In the words of historian Malcolm Gaskill, Matthew Hopkins “lives on as an anti-hero and bogeyman – utterly ethereal, endlessly malleable”. According to historian Rossell Hope Robbins, Hopkins “acquired an evil reputation which in later days made his name synonymous with fingerman or informer paid by authorities to commit perjury”.

What historian James Sharpe has characterised as a “pleasing legend” grew up around the circumstances of Hopkins’ death, according to which he was subjected to his own swimming test and executed as a witch, but the parish registry at Mistley confirms his burial there.

 

Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation

 

Hopkins’ writing: The Discovery of Witches

Below is the full text of Matthew Hopkins’ The Discovery of Witches, published in 1647.  The description of the imps or familiars of Elizabeth Clarke can be read under Querie 4.

 

 

 

The
Discovery of Witches:

In
Answer to severall QUERIES,
LATELY

Delivered to the Judges of Assize for the
County of
 NORFOLK.

And now published
By MATTHEW HOPKINS, Witch-finder,

FOR
The Benefit of the whole KINGDOME.

M. DC. XLVII.


 

EXOD. 22.18.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.


 

Certaine Queries answered, which have been and are likely to be objected against MATTHEW HOPKINS, in his way of finding out Witches.

 


 

Querie 1.

That he must needs be the greatest Witch, Sorcerer, and Wizzard himselfe, else hee could not doe it.

 

Answ.

If Satan’s kingdome be divided against it selfe, how shall it stand?


Querie 2.

If he never went so farre as is before mentioned, yet for certaine he met with the Devill, and cheated him of his Booke, wherein were written all the Witches names in England, and if he looks on any Witch, he can tell by her countenance what she is; so by this, his helpe is from the Devill.

 

Answ.

If he had been too hard for the devill and got his book, it had been to his great commendation, and no disgrace at all: and for judgement in Phisiognomie, he hath no more then any man else whatsoever.


Querie 3.

From whence then proceeded this his skill? was it from his profound learning, or from much reading of learned Authors concerning that subject?

 

Answ.

From neither of both, but from experience, which though it be meanly esteemed of, yet the surest and safest way to judge by.


Querie 4.

I pray where was this experience gained? and why gained by him and not by others?

 

Answ.

The Discoverer never travelled far for it, but in March 1644 he had some seven or eight of that horrible sect of Witches living in the Towne where he lived, a Towne in Essex called Maningtree, with divers other adjacent Witches of other towns, who every six weeks in the night (being alwayes on the Friday night) had their meeting close by his house and had their severall solemne sacrifices there offered to the Devill, one of which this discoverer heard speaking to her Imps one night, and bid them goe to another Witch, who was thereupon apprehended, and searched, by women who had for many yeares knowne the Devills marks, and found to have three teats about her, which honest women have not: so upon command from the Justice they were to keep her from sleep two or three nights, expecting in that time to see her familiars, which the fourth night she called in by their severall names, and told them what shapes, a quarter of an houre before they came in, there being ten of us in the roome, the first she called was

1. Holt, who came in like a white kitling.

2. Jarmara, who came in like a fat Spaniel without any legs at all, she said she kept him fat, for she clapt her hand on her belly and said he suckt good blood from her body.

3. Vinegar Tom, who was like a long-legg’d Greyhound, with an head like an Oxe, with a long taile and broad eyes, who when this discoverer spoke to, and bade him goe to the place provided for him and his Angels, immediately transformed himselfe into the shape of a child of foure yeeres old without a head, and gave halfe a dozen turnes about the house, and vanished at the doore.

4. Sack and Sugar, like a black Rabbet.

5. Newes, like a Polcat. All these vanished away in a little time. Immediately after this Witch confessed severall other Witches, from whom she had her Imps, and named to divers women where their marks were, the number of their Marks, and Imps, and Imps names, as ElemanzerPyewacketPeckin the CrownGrizzelGreedigut&c. which no mortall could invent; and upon their searches the same Markes were found, the same number, and in the same place, and the like confessions from them of the same Imps, (though they knew not that we were told before) and so peached one another thereabouts that joyned together in the like damnable practise that in our Hundred in Essex, 29. were condemned at once, 4. brought 25. Miles to be hanged, where this Discoverer lives, for sending the Devill like a Beare to kill him in his garden, so by seeing diverse of the mens Papps, and trying wayes with hundreds of them, he gained this experience, and for ought he knowes any man else may find them as well as he and his company, if they had the same skill and experience.


Querie 5.

Many poore People are condemned for having a Pap, or Teat about them, whereas many People (especially antient People) are, and have been a long time troubled with naturall wretts on severall parts of their bodies and other naturall excressencies, as Hemerodes, Piles, Childbearing, &c. and these shall be judged only by one man alone and a woman, and so accused or acquitted.

 

Answ.

The parties so judging can justifie their skill to any, and shew good reasons why such markes are not meerly naturall, neither that they can happen by any such naturall cause as is before expressed, and for further answer for their private judgements alone, it is most false and untrue, for never was any man tryed by search of his body, but commonly a dozen of the ablest men in the parish or else where, were present, and most commonly as many ancient skilfull matrons and midwives present when the women are tryed, which marks not only he, and his company attest to be very suspitious, but all beholders, the skilfulest of them, doe not approve of them, but likewise assent that such tokens cannot in their judgements proceed from any the above mentioned Causes.


Querie 6.

It is a thing impossible for any or woman to judge rightly on such marks, they are so neare to naturall excressencies and they that finde them, durst not presently give Oath they were drawne by evil spirits, till they have used unlawfull courses of torture to make them say any thing for ease and quiet, as who would not do? but I would know the reasons he speakes of, how, and whereby to discover the one from the other, and so be satisfied in that.

 

Answ.

The reasons in breefe are three, which for the present he judgeth to differ from naturall marks which are:

1. He judgeth by the unusualnes of the place where he findeth the teats in or on their bodies being farre distant from any usuall place, from whence such naturall markes proceed, as if a witch plead the markes found are Emerods, if I finde them on the bottome of the back-bone, shall I assent with him, knowing they are not neere that veine, and so others by child-bearing, when it may be they are in the contrary part?

2. They are most commonly insensible, and feele neither pin, needle, aule, &c. thrust through them.

3. The often variations and mutations of these marks into severall formes, confirmes the matter; as if a Witch hear a month or two before that the Witch-finder (as they call him) is comming they will, and have put out their Imps to others to suckle them, even to their owne young and tender children; these upon search are found to have dry skinnes and filmes only, and be close to the flesh, keepe her 24. houres with a diligent eye, that none of her Spirits come in any visible shape to suck her; the women have seen the next day after her Teats extended out to their former filling length, full of corruption ready to burst, and leaving her alone then one quarter of an houre, and let the women go up againe and shee will have them drawn by her Imps close againe: Probatum est. Now for answer to their tortures in its due place.


Querie 7.

How can it possibly be that the Devill bring a spirit, and wants no nutriment or sustentation, should desire to suck any blood? and indeed as he is a spirit he cannot draw any such excressences, having neither flesh nor bone, nor can be felt, &c.

 

Ans.

He seekes not their bloud, as if he could not subsist without that nourishment, but he often repairs to them, and gets it, the more to aggravate the Witches damnation, and to put her in mind of her Covenant; and as he is a Spirit and Prince of the ayre, he appeares to them in any shape whatsoever, which shape is occasioned by him through joyning of condensed thickned aire together, and many times doth assume shapes of many creatures; but to create any thing he cannot do it, it is only proper to God: But in this case of drawing out of these Teats, he doth really enter into the body, reall, corporeall, substantiall creature, and forceth that Creature (he working in it) to his desired ends, and useth the organs of that body to speake withall to make his compact up with the Witches, be the creature Cat, Rat, Mouse, &c.


Querie 8.

When these Paps are fully discovered, yet that will not serve sufficiently to convict them, but they must be tortured and kept from sleep two or three nights, to distract them, and make them say any thing; which is a way to tame a wilde Colt, or Hawke, &c.

 

Ans.

In the infancy of this discovery it was not only thought fitting, but enjoyned in Essex and Suffolke by the Magistrates, with this intention only, because they being kept awake would be more the active to cal their imps in open view the sooner to their helpe, which oftentimes have so happened; and never or seldome did any Witch ever complaine in the time of their keeping for want of rest, but after they had beat their heads together in the Goale; and after this use was not allowed of by the judges and other Magistrates, it was never since used, which is a yeare and a halfe since, neither were any kept from sleep by any order or direction since; but peradventure their own stubborne wills did not let them sleep, though tendered and offered to them.


Querie 9.

Beside that unreasonable watching, they were extraordinarily walked, till their feet were blistered, and so forced through that cruelty to confesse, &c.

 

Ans.

It was in the same beginning of this discovery, and the meaning of walking of them at the highest extent of cruelty, was only they to walke about themselves the night they were watched, only to keepe them waking: and the reason was this, when they did lye or sit in a chaire, if they did offer to couch downe, then the watchers were only to desire them to sit up and walke about, for indeed when they be suffered so to couch, immediately comes their Familiars into the room and scareth the watchers, and heartneth on the Witch, though contrary to the true meaning of the same instructions, diverse have been by rusticall People, (they hearing them confess to be Witches) mis-used, spoiled, and abused, diverse whereof have suffered for the same, but could never be proved against this Discoverer to have a hand in it, or consent to it; and hath likewise been un-used by him and others, ever since the time they were kept from sleepe.


Querie 10.

But there hath been an abominable, inhumane, and unmercifull tryall of these poore creatures, by tying them, and heaving them into the water; a tryall not allowable by Law or conscience, and I would faine know the reasons for that.

 

Ans.

It is not denyed but many were so served as had Papps, and floated, others that had none were tryed with them and sunk, but marke the reasons.

For first the Divels policie is great, in perswading many to come of their own accord to be tryed, perswading them their marks are so close they shall not be found out, so as diverse have come 10. or 12. Miles to be searched of their own accord, and hanged for their labour, (as one Meggs a Baker did, who lived within 7. Miles of Norwich, and was hanged at Norwich Assizes for witchcraft) then when they find that the Devil tells them false they reflect on him, and he (as 40. have confessed) adviseth them to be sworne, and tels them they shall sinke and be cleared that way, then when they be tryed that way and floate, they see the Devill deceives them againe, and have so laid open his treacheries.

2. It was never brought in against any of them at their tryals as any evidence.

3. King James in his Demonology saith, it is a certaine rule, for (saith he) Witches deny their baptisme when they Covenant with the Devill, water being the sole element thereof, and therefore saith he, when they be heaved into the water, the water refuseth to receive them into her bosome, (they being such Miscreants to deny their baptisme) and suffers them to float, as the Froath on the Sea, which the water will not recieve, but casts it up and downe till it comes to the earthy element the shore, and there leaves it to consume.

4. Observe these generation of Witches, if they be at any time abused by being called Whore, Theefe, &c, by any where they live, they are the readiest to cry and wring their hands, and shed tears in abundance & run with full and right sorrowfull acclamations to some Justice of the Peace, and with many teares make their complaints: but now behold their stupidity; nature or the elements reflection from them, when they are accused for this horrible and damnable sin of Witchcraft, they never alter or change their countenances nor let one Teare fall. This by the way, swimming (by able Divines whom I reverence) is condemned for no way, and therefore of late hath, and for ever shall be left.


Querie 11.

Oh! but if this torturing Witch-catcher can by all or any of these meanes wring out a word or two of confession from any of these stupified, ignorant, unitelligible, poore silly creatures, (though none heare it but himselfe) he will adde and put her in feare to confesse telling her, else she shall be hanged; but if she doe, he will set her at liberty, and so put a word into her mouth, and make such a silly creature confesse she knowes not what.

 

Answ.

He is of a better conscience, and for your better understanding of him, he doth thus uncase himselfe to all, add declares what confessions (though made by a Witch against her selfe) he allowes not of, and doth altogether account of no validity, or worthy of credence to be given to it, and ever did so account it, and ever likewise shall.

1. He utterly denyes that confession of a Witch to be of any validity, when it is drawn from her by any torture or violence whatsoever; although after watching, walking, or swimming, diverse have suffered, yet peradventure Magistrates with much care and diligence did solely and fully examine them after sleepe, and consideration sufficient.

2. He utterly denyes that confession of a Witch, which is drawn from her by flattery, viz. if you will confess you shall go home, you shall not go to the Goale, nor be hanged, &c.

3. He utterly denyes that confession of a Witch, when she confesseth any improbability, impossibility, as flying in the ayre, riding on a broom, &c.

4. He utterly denyes a confession of a Witch, when it is interrogated to her, and words put into her mouth, to be of any force or effect: as to say to a silly (yet Witch wicked enough) you have foure Imps have you not? She answers affirmatively, Yes: did they not suck you? Yes, saith she: Are not their names so, and so? Yes, saith shee; Did not you send such an Impe to kill my child? Yes saith she, this being all her confession after this manner, it is by him accompted nothing, and he earnestly doth desire that all Magistrates and Jurors would a little more then ever they did examine witnesses about the interrogated confessions.


Querie 12.

If all those confessions be denyed, I wonder what he will make confession, for sure it is, all these wayes have been used and took for good confessions, and many have suffered for them, and I know not what, he will then make confession.

 

Answ.

Yes, in brief he will declare what confession of a Witch is of validity and force in his judgement, to hang a Witch: when a Witch is first found with teats, then sequestred from her house, which is onely to keep her old associates from her, and so by good counsell brought into a sad condition, by understanding of the horribleness of her sin, and the judgements threatned against her; and knowing the Devils malice and subtile circumventions, is brought to remorse and sorrow for complying with Satan so long, and disobeying Gods sacred Commands, doth then desire to unfold her mind with much bitterness, and then without any of the before-mentioned hard usages or questions put to her, doth of her owne accord declare what was the occasion of the Devils appearing to her, whether ignorance, pride, anger, malice, &c. was predominant over her, she doth then declare what speech they had, what likeness he was in, what voice be had, what familiars he sent her, what number of spirits, what names they had, what shape they were in, what imployment she set them about to severall persons in severall places, (unknowne to the hearers) all which mischiefes being proved to be done, at the same time she confessed to the same parties for the same cause, and all effected, is testimony enough again her for all her denyall.


Questie 13.

How can any possibly beleeve that the Devill and the Witch joyning together, should have such power, as the Witches confesse to kill such such a man, child, horse, cow, the like; if we beleeve they can doe what they will, then we derogate from Gods power, who for certaine limits the Devill and the Witch; and I cannot beleeve they have any power at all.

 

Answ.

God suffers the Devill many times to doe much hurt, and the devill doth play many times the deluder and impostor with these Witches, in perswading them that they are the cause of such and such a murder wrought by him with their consents, when and indeed neither he nor they had any hand in it, as thus: We must needs argue, he is of a long standing, above 6000. yeers, then he must needs be the best Scholar in all knowledges of arts and tongues, & so have the best skill in Physicke, judgment in Physiognomie, and knowledge of what disease is reigning or predominant in this or that mans body, (and so for cattell too) by reason of his long experience. This subtile tempter knowing such a man lyable to some sudden disease, (as by experience I have found) as PlurisieImposthume, &c. he resorts to divers Witches; if they know the man, and seek to make a difference between the Witches and the party, it may be by telling them he hath threatned to have them very shortly searched, and so hanged for Witches, then they all consult with Satan to save themselves, and Satan stands ready prepared, with a What will you have me doe for you, my deare and nearest children, covenanted and compacted with me in my hellish league, and sealed with your blood, my delicate firebrand-darlings.

The Divells speech to the Witches.

Oh thou (say they) that at the first didst promise to save us thy servants from any of out deadly enemies discovery, and didst promise to avenge and flay all those, we pleased, that did offend us; Murther that wretch suddenly who threatens the down-fall of your loyall subjects. He then promiseth to effect it. Next newes is heard the partie is dead, he comes to the witch, and gets a world of reverence, credence and respect for his power and activeness, when and indeed the disease kills the party, not the Witch, nor the Devill, (onely the Devill knew that such a disease was predominant) and the witch aggravates her damnation by her familiarity and consent to the Devill, and so comes likewise in compass of the Lawes. This is Satans usuall impostring and deluding, but not his constant course of proceeding, for he and the witch doe mischiefe too much. But I would that Magistrates and Jurats would a little examine witnesses when they heare witches confess such and such a murder, whether the party had not long time before, or at the time when the witch grew suspected, some disease or other predominant, which might cause that issue or effect of death.


Querie 14.

All that the witch-finder doth is to fleece the country of their money, and therefore rides and goes to townes to have imployment, and promiseth them faire promises, and it may be doth nothing for it, and possesseth many men that they have so many wizzards and so many witches in their towne, and so hartens them on to entertaine him.

 

Ans.

You doe him a great deale of wrong in every of these particulars. For, first,

1. He never went to any towne or place, but they rode, writ, or sent often for him, and were (for ought he knew) glad of him.

2. He is a man that doth disclaime that ever he detected a witch, or said, Thou art a witch; only after her tryall by search, and their owne confessions, he as others may judge.

3. Lastly, judge how he fleeceth the Country, and inriches himselfe, by considering the vast summe he takes of every towne, he demands but 20.s. a town, & doth sometimes ride 20. miles for that, & hath no more for all his charges thither and back again (& it may be stayes a weeke there) and finde there 3. or 4. witches, or if it be but one, cheap enough, and this is the great summe he takes to maintaine his Companie with 3. horses.

 

Judicet ullus.

 


 

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