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I. e., to those with open minds: the Bereans are commended (Acts xvii. 11) as “more noble” because “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.”


Precedents: this odd spelling was then the current one.


This page-number and those which follow refer to the pages of Mather's Wonders (original edition), from which the substance of these paragraphs is quoted. The passages quoted will be found in Mather's book at pp. 48, 41, 50, of the first London edition, at pp. 95, 80-82, 100, of that of 1862, at pp. 121-122, 102-104, 128, of the American edition of 1866. They do not belong to the pages reprinted in the present volume.


How Mather conceived this “black man” to look appears from the description he ascribes to Mercy Short (p. 261, above).


In the original there is here no paragraph, the paragraph beginning after the next sentence with “But, if,” etc.


“Prescribed,” as then often, for “proscribed,” i. e., condemned to death.


For a description of the joke, played on boobies, of “dragging through a pond with a cat,” see the Oxford Dictionary, s. v. Cat, III. 14, or Grose, Dictionary of Vulgar Terms, s. v. “Cat-whipping.” “We hope, sir,” said in 1682 the London Gazette, “that this Nation will be too wise, to be drawn twice through the same Water by the very same Cat.”


As Calef is writing in August, 1697, he doubtless has in mind the cases in Renfrewshire, where on June 10 several witches were hanged, then burned, on the Gallow Green of Paisley; a “Relation” then printed recounts “the Diabolical Practices of above Twenty.” Neither the relation nor the tidings of the burning could well have reached America by August 11; but the trials had been notorious for months. In Scotland, however, such things had been constant, as may be seen by the records of the Privy Council. Those of this period are chronicled by Robert Chambers in his Domestic Annals of Scotland.


I. e., to the utmost of my power.


See pp. 219-220, above.


I. e., presumptuous, like the venture of Icarus, who flew so high that the sun melted off his wings.


He is thinking, of course, of such “Remarkables” as those told by the Mathers.


Apollonius of Tyana, the first-century Pythagorean philosopher and wonder-worker, like Justin Martyr, the second-century apologist of Christianity, is perhaps too well to need a footnote.


Justin Martyr, Quaestiones et Responsiones ad Orthodoxos, qu. 24.


Telesmata, talismans, magical devices.




Council: the Fourth Council of Carthage, 398 A. D.


Increase Mather.


Council: the Spanish Council of Bracara, 561 A. D.




He means the Roman church. Revelation, xvii.


William Perkins (1558-1602), the eminent Cambridge divine — “our Perkins,” as Increase Mather calls him — whose Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft (London, 1608, 1610, and in the many editions of his Works) was the highest authority to Puritans.


John Gaule. See p. 216, note 1.


Richard Bernard (1567-1641), long minister of Batcombe in Somersetshire. His Guide to Grand-Jurymen... in cases of Witchcraft (1627, 1629) was, though credulous and cruel enough, the most mild and cautious of the Puritan monographs. The tiny volume, now very rare, had perhaps never a great circulation (in 1692 Increase Mather declares it, like Gaule's book, “rare to be had”); but its rules for the detection of witches gained much vogue from their adoption by Michael Dalton into his The Countrey Justice, the standard manual for the procedure of the lower courts. It is clearly, however, from Bernard's book itself that Cotton Mather has abridged these rules in his Wonders; and the book, as well as this extract, was doubtless in the hands of the Salem judges. Increase Mather quotes it often, and by page, and tells us that it “is a solid and a wise treatise.” (Cases of Conscience, 1693, p. 18.)


It has been conjectured that this gentleman may have been one of the two Brattles. In a letter of March 1, 1695 (More Wonders, p. 30 — not here reprinted), to a “Mr. B.” (Brattle?) Calef mentions other papers received from Mather through his hands — but to be returned speedily and not copied. He, however, he says, made notes in the margin where he thought it needful. These papers, as it will rejoice all students to learn, have just been identified by Mr. Worthington C. Ford (to whose courtesy the editor owes his knowledge of them) among those in the keeping of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and they will be published in full — both Mather's text and Calef's marginalia (with a facsimile plate) in that society's Proceedings for 1913-1914. See also below, p. 388, at end.


The original has “use”; but this is corrected to “me” in the Errata (see p. 295, above).


A copy, not of the “express consent,” but of the “More Wonders of the Invisible World” — the Margaret Rule story as a whole — to which the letter of Mather introducing it was perhaps attached as a sort of open “letter to the reader.” Between this preface and that letter there intervenes a table of contents, not here reprinted.


It is, in other words, a supplement to his book thus entitled, as its other name, “Another Brand pluckt out of the Burning,” makes it a supplement to his Mercy Short narrative.


See his “Sect. 10” (pp. 316-318, below).


As to this letter see p. 306, note 3. The Margaret Rule MS. is still preserved in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society; and Poole, who used it for his chapter on witchcraft in the Memorial History of Boston, has in a footnote (II. 152) printed a facsimile of the “To bee Return'd unto C. Mather” written on it by its author.