University of Virginia Library


Mr. Cotton Mather,

Reverend Sir, I finding it needful on many accounts, I here present you with the Copy of that Paper, which has been so much Misrepresented, to the End that what shall be found defective or not fairly Represented, if any such shall appear, they may be set right, which Runs thus.

September the 13th, 1693.

In the Evening when the Sun was withdrawn, giving place to Darkness to succeed, I with some others were drawn by curiosity to see Margaret Rule, and so much the rather because it was reported Mr. M — [205] would be there that Night: Being come to her Fathers House into the Chamber wherein she was in Bed, found her of a


healthy countenance of about seventeen Years Old, lying very still, and speaking very little, what she did say seem'd as if she were Light-headed. Then Mr. M — , Father and Son, came up and others with them, in the whole were about 30 or 40 Persons; they being sat, the Father on a Stool, and the Son upon the Bedside by her, the Son began to question her, Margaret Rule, how do you do? then a pause without any answer. Question. What, do there a great many Witches sit upon you? Answer. Yes. Q. Do you not know that there is a hard Master? Then she was in a Fit; He laid his hand upon her Face and Nose, but, as he said, without perceiving Breath; then he brush'd her on the Face with his Glove, and rubb'd her Stomach (her breast not covered with the Bed-cloaths) and bid others do so too, and said it eased her, then she revived. Q. Don't you know there is a hard Master? A. Yes. Reply; Don't serve that hard Master, you know who. Q. Do you believe? Then again she was in a Fit, and he again rub'd her Breast, etc. (about this time Margaret Perd an attendant assisted him in rubbing of her. The Afflicted spake angerely to her saying don't you meddle with me, and hastily put away her hand) he wrought his Fingers before her Eyes and asked her if she saw the Witches? A. No. Q. Do you


believe? A. Yes. Q. Do you believe in you know who? A. Yes. Q. Would you have other people do so too, to believe in you know who? A. Yes. Q. Who is it that Afflicts you? A. I know not, there is a great many of them (about this time the Father question'd if she knew the Spectres? An attendant said, if she did she would not tell; The Son proceeded) Q. You have seen the Black-man, hant[206] you? A. No. Reply; I hope you never shall. Q. You have had a Book offered you, hant you? A. No. Q. The brushing of you gives you ease, don't it? A. Yes. She turn'd her selfe and a little Groan'd. Q. Now the Witches Scratch you and Pinch you, and Bite you, don't they? A. Yes. Then he put his hand upon her Breast and Belly, viz. on the Cloaths over her, and felt a Living thing, as he said, which moved the Father also to feel, and some others; Q. Don't you feel the Live thing in the Bed? A. No. Reply, that is only Fancie. Q. the great company of People increase your Torment, don't they? A. Yes. The People about were desired to withdraw. One Woman said, I am sure I am no Witch, I will not go; so others, so none withdrew. Q. Shall we go to Prayers? Then she lay in a Fit as before. But this time to revive her, they waved a Hat and brushed her Head and Pillow therewith. Q. Shall we go to Pray, etc. Spelling the Word. A. Yes. The Father went


to Prayer for perhaps half an Hour, chiefly against the Power of the Devil and Witchcraft, and that God would bring out the Afflicters: during Prayer-time, the Son stood by, and when they thought she was in a Fit, rub'd her and brush'd her as before, and beckned to others to do the like; after Prayer he proceeded; Q. You did not hear when we were at Prayer, did you? A. Yes. Q. You dont hear always, you dont hear sometimes past a Word or two, do you? A. No. Then turning him about said, this is just another Mercy Short: Margaret Perd reply'd, she was not like her in her Fits. Q. What does she eat or drink? A. Not eat at all; but drink Rum. Then he admonished the young People to take warning, etc. Saying it was a sad thing to be so Tormented by the Devil and his Instruments: A Young-man present in the habit of a Seaman, reply'd this is the Devil all over. Than[207] the Ministers withdrew. Soon after they were gon the Afflicted desired the Women to be gone, saying, that the Company of the Men was not offensive to her, and having hold of the hand of a Young-man, said to have been her Sweet-heart formerly, who was withdrawing; She pull'd him again into his Seat, saying he should not go to Night.

September the 19th, 1693.

This Night I renew'd my Visit, and found her rather of a fresher Countenance than before, about eight Persons present with her, she was in a Fit Screeming and making a Noise: Three or four Persons rub'd and brush'd her with their hands, they said that the brushing did put them away, if they brush'd or rub'd in the right place; therefore they brush'd and rub'd in several places, and said that when they did it in the right place she could fetch her Breath, and by that they knew. She being come to her self was soon in a merry talking Fit. A Young-man came in and ask'd her how she did? She answered very bad, but at present a little better; he soon told her he must be gon and bid her good Night, at which she seem'd troubled, saying, that she liked his Company, and said she would not have him go till she was well; adding, for I shall Die when you are gon. Then she complained they did not put her on a clean Cap, but let her ly so like a Beast, saying, she should lose her Fellows. She said she wondered any People should be so Wicked as to think she was not Afflicted, but to think she Dissembled. A Young-woman answered Yes, if they were to see you in this merry Fit, they would say you Dissembled indeed; She reply'd, Mr. M — said this was her laughing time, she must laugh now: She said Mr. M — had been there this Evening, and she enquired, how long he had been gon? She said,


he stay'd alone with her in the room half an Hour, and said that he told her there were some that came for Spies, and to report about Town that she was not Afflicted. That during the said time she had no Fit, that he asked her if she knew how many times he had Prayed for her to Day? And that she answered that she could not tell; and that he replyed he had Prayed for her Nine times to Day; the Attendants said that she was sometimes in a Fit that none could open her Joynts, and that there came an Old Iron-jaw'd Woman and try'd, but could not do it; they likewise said, that her Head could not be moved from the Pillow; I try'd to move her head, and found no more difficulty than another Bodies (and so did others) but was not willing to offend by lifting it up, one being reproved for endeavouring it, they saying angrily you will break her Neck; The Attendants said Mr. M — would not go to Prayer with her when People were in the Room, as they did one Night, that Night he felt the Live Creature. Margaret Perd and another said they smelt Brimstone; I and others said we did not smell any; then they said they did not know what it was: This Margaret said, she wish'd she had been here when Mr. M — was here, another Attendant said, if you had been here you might not have been permitted in, for her own Mother was not suffered to be present.

Sir, after the sorest Affliction and greatest blemish to Religion that ever befel this Countrey, and after most Men began to Fear that some undue steps had been taken, and after His Excellency (with their Majesties Approbation[208] as is said) had put a stop to Executions, and Men began to hope there would never be a return of the like; finding these Accounts to contain in them something extraordinary, I writ them down the same Nights in order to attain the certainty of them, and soon found them so confirmed that I have (besides other Demonstrations) the whole, under the Hands of two Persons are ready to attest the Truth of it; but not satisfied herewith, I shewed them to some of your particular Friends,


that so I might have the greater certainty: But was much surprized with the Message you sent me, that I should be Arrested for Slander, and at your calling me one of the worst of Lyars, making it Pulpit news with the Name of Pernicious Libels, etc. This occasion'd my first Letter.


Reverend Sir,

I having written from the Mouths of several Persons, who affirm they were present with Margaret Rule, the 13th Instant, her Answers and Behaviours, etc. And having shewed it to several of my Friends, as also yours, and understanding you are offended at it; This is to acquaint you, that if you and any one particular Friend, will please to meet me and some other Indifferent Person with me, at Mr. Wilkins, or at Ben. Harris's,[209] you intimating the time, I shall be ready there to read it to you, as also a further Account of proceedings the '19th Instant, which may be needful to prevent Groundless prejudices, and let deserved blame be cast where it ought; From,

Sir, yours in what I may,

R. C.