University of Virginia Library


Mr. R. C.

Whereas you intimate your desires, that what's not fairly, (I take it for granted you mean truly also,) represented in a Paper you lately sent me, containing a pretended Narrative of a Visit by my Father and self to an Afflicted Young woman, whom we apprehended to be under a Diabolical Possession, might be rectified: I have this to say, as I have often already said, that I do scarcely find any one thing in the whole Paper, whether respecting my Father or self, either fairly or truly represented. Nor can I think that any that know my Parents Circumstances, but must think him deserving a better Character by far, than this Narrative can be thought to give him. When the main design we managed in Visiting the poor Afflicted Creature, was to prevent the Accusations of the Neighbourhood, can it be fairly represented that our design was to draw out such Accusations, which is the representation


of the Paper? We have Testimonies of the best Witnesses and in Number not a few, That when we asked Rule whether she thought she knew who Tormented her? the Question was but an Introduction to the Solemn charges which we then largely gave, that she should rather Dye than tell the Names of any whom she might Imagine that she knew. Your Informers have reported the Question, and report nothing of what follows, as essential to the giving of that Question: And can this be termed a piece of fairness? Fair it cannot be, that when Ministers Faithfully and Carefully discharge their Duty to the Miserable in their Flock, little bits, scraps and shreds of their Discourses should be tackt together to make them contemtible, when there shall be no notice of all the Necessary, Seasonable, and Profitable things that occur'd, in those Discourses; And without which, the occasion of the lesser Passages cannot be understood; And yet I am furnished with abundant Evidences, ready to be Sworn, that will possitively prove this part of unfairness, by the above mention'd Narrative, to be done both to my Father and self. Again, it seems not fair or reasonable that I should be expos'd, for which your self (not to say some others) might have expos'd me for, if I had not done, Viz. for discouraging so much Company from flocking about the Possest Maid, and yet, as I perswade my self, you cannot but think it to be good advice, to keep much Company from such haunted Chambers; besides the unfairness doth more appear, in that I find nothing repeated of what I said about the advantage, which the Devil takes from too much Observation and Curiosity.

In that several of the Questions in the Paper are so Worded, as to carry in them a presupposal of the things inquired after, to say the best of it is very unfair: But this is not all, the Narrative contains a number of Mistakes and Falshoods; which were they willful and design'd, might justly be termed gross Lies. The representations are far from true, when 'tis affirm'd my Father and self being come into the Room, I began the Discourse; I hope I understand breeding a little better than so: For proof of this, did occasion serve, sundry can depose the contrary.

'Tis no less untrue, that either my Father or self put the Question, how many Witches sit upon you? We always


cautiously avoided that expression; It being contrary to our inward belief: All the standers by will (I believe) Swear they did not hear us use it (your Witnesses excepted) and I tremble to think how hardy those woful Creatures must be, to call the Almighty by an Oath, to so false a thing. As false a representation 'tis, that I rub'd Rule's Stomach, her Breast not being covered. The Oath of the nearest Spectators, giving a true account of that matter will prove this to be little less than a gross (if not a doubled) Lie; and to be somewhat plainer, it carries the Face of a Lie contrived on purpose (by them at least, to whom you are beholden for the Narrative) Wickedly and Basely to expose me. For you cannot but know how much this Representation hath contributed, to make People believe a Smutty thing of me; I am far from thinking, but that in your own Conscience you believe, that no indecent Action of that Nature could then be done by me before such observers, had I been so Wicked as to have been inclin'd to what is Base. It looks next to impossible that a reparation shoud be made me for the wrong done to, I hope, as to any Scandal, an unblemish'd, tho' weak and small Servant of the Church of God. Nor is what follows a less untruth, that 'twas an Attendant and not my self who said, if Rule knows who Afflicts her, yet she wont tell. I therefore spoke it that I might incourage her to continue in that concealment of all Names whatsoever; to this I am able to furnish my self with the Attestation of Sufficient Oaths. 'Tis as far from true, that my apprehension of the Imp, about Rule, was on her Belly, for the Oaths of the Spectators, and even of those that thought they felt it, can testify that 'twas upon the Pillow, at a distance from her Body. As untrue a Representation is that which follows, Viz. That it was said unto her, that her not Apprehending of that odd palpable, tho' not visible, Mover was from her Fancy, for I endeavoured to perswade her that it might be but Fancy in others, that there was any such thing at all. Witnesses every way sufficient can be produced for this also. 'Tis falsely represented that my Father felt on the Young-woman after the appearance mentioned, for his hand was never near her; Oath can sufficiently vindicate him. 'Tis very untrue that my Father Prayed for perhaps half an Hour, against the power of the Devil and Witchcraft, and that God would bring out the


Afflictors. Witnesses of the best Credit, can depose, that his Prayer was not a quarter of an Hour, and that there was no more than about one clause towards the close of the Prayer, which was of this import; And this clause also was guarded with a singular wariness and modesty, Viz. If there were any evil Instruments in this matter God would please to discover them: And that there was more than common reason for that Petition I can satisfie any one that will please to Inquire of me. And strange it is, that a Gentleman that from 18 to 54 hath been an Exemplary Minister of the Gospel; and that besides a station in the Church of God, as considerable as any that his own Country can afford, hath for divers years come off with Honour, in his Application to three Crown'd Heads, and the chiefest Nobility of three Kingdoms, Knows not yet how to make one short Prayer of a quarter of an hour, but in New-England he must be Libell'd for it. There are divers other down-right mistakes, which you have permitted your self, I would hope not knowingly, and with a Malicious design, to be receiver or Compiler of, which I shall now forbear to Animadvert upon. As for the Appendix of the Narrative I do find myself therein Injuriously treated, for the utmost of your proof for what you say of me, amounts to little more than, viz. Some People told you, that others told them, that such and such things did pass, but you may assure yourself, that I am not unfurnish'd with Witnesses, that can convict the same. Whereas you would give me to believe the bottom of these your Methods, to be some dissatisfaction about the commonly receiv'd Power of Devils and Witches; I do not only with all freedom offer you the use of any part of my Library, which you may see cause to peruse on that Subject, but also if you and any else, whom you please, will visit me at my Study, yea, or meet me at any other place, less inconvenient than those by you propos'd; I will with all the fairness and calmness in the World dispute the point. I beg of God that he would bestow as many Blessings on you, as ever on myself, and out of a sincere wish, that you may be made yet more capable of these Blessings, I take this occasion to lay before you the faults (not few nor small ones neither) which the Paper contained, you lately sent me in order to be Examined by me. In case you want a true and full Narrative of my


Visit, whereof such an indecent Traversty (to say the best) hath been made, I am not unwilling to communicate it, in mean time must take liberty to say, 'Tis scarcely consistent with Common Civility, much less Christian Charity, to offer the Narrative, now with you, for a true one, till you have a truer, or for a full one, till you have a fuller. Your Sincere (tho Injur'd) Friend and Servant,

C. Mather.
The Copy of a Paper Receiv'd with the above Letter.
I do Testifie that I have seen Margaret Rule in her Afflictions from the Invisible World, lifted up from her Bed, wholly by an Invisible force, a great way towards the top of the Room where she lay; in her being so lifted, she had no Assistance from any use of her own Arms or Hands, or any other part of her Body, not so much as her Heels touching her Bed, or resting on any support whatsoever. And I have seen her thus lifted, when not only a strong Person hath thrown his whole weight a cross her to pull her down; but several other Persons have endeavoured, with all their might, to hinder her from being so raised up, which I suppose that several others will testifie as well as my self, when call'd unto it. Witness my Hand,
Samuel Aves.
We can also Testifie to the substance of what is above Written, and have several times seen Margaret Rule so lifted up from her Bed, as that she had no use of her own Lims to help her up, but it was the declared apprehension of us, as well as others that saw it, impossible for any hands, but some of the Invisible World to lift her.
Robert Earle. John Wilkins. Dan. Williams.
We whose Names are under-writted do testifie, That one Evening when we were in the Chamber where Margaret Rule then lay, in her late Affliction, we observed her to be, by an


Invisible Force, lifted up from the Bed whereon she lay, so as to touch the Garret Floor, while yet neither her Feet, nor any other part of her Body rested either on the Bed, or any other support, but were also by the same force, lifted up from all that was under her, and all this for a considerable while, we judg'd it several Minutes; and it was as much as several of us could do, with all our strength to pull her down. All which happened when there was not only we two in the Chamber, but we suppose ten or a dozen more, whose Names we have forgotten,
Thomas Thornton.
William Hudson Testifies to the substance of Thorntons Testimony, to which he also hath set his Hand.