« EelmineJätka »
the rays of the 'sun, and cause complete darkness. They alight on fields of coru, or other vegetables; and, in a few minutes devour their whole produce. The natives make a great noise to frighten them away in vain ; and, by way of retaliation, they catch and eat them when fried, considering them as a dainty repast. They are something like the grasshopper in form, about two inches in length. They'are generally of a yellow or gold colour, but there are some red and some green.-From Belzoni's Travels.
Nuts (when they become dry, and the kernel shrivelled) may, by pouring boiling water opon them, and letting them remain in it twelve liours, be made fresh, and the kernel full and firm as wlien first gathered.-Morning Herald.
We do pot vouch for the truth of this, but the experiment may be easily tried.
Reading derives its name from the British word Reden, wbich signifies fern; of which a great abundance furmerly grew in this place and its vicinity.-Morning Herald.
Proposals have been published for the formation of an Institution in the County of Dorset, to encourage the cultivation of Flax, and to furnish employment for the poor in its manufacture. An acre of flax, it is said, may be spun into thread for making lace, so as to yield from two to three thousand pounds.-Morning Herald.
T. B. P. has not arrived.
We thank A. C. F. for her information that the beautiful verses on the Epiphany, in our January number, were writo ten by the present Bishop of Calcutta.
In the verses on the Sabbath, in our last number, page 137, the two following lines were omitted. They should come after “ lift the soul to learen.”. “ Your words be such as angels might approve,
Your works the fruit of charity and love." We thank M.: and shall be very glad to insert Sarah Gante leti's letter.
We beg to return our thanks to T. K.
We have just received X. Y. 2.; G. C.C. E. ; an Ode ; an Oid Maid; and a Plain Countryman.
Cottager's Monthly Visitor.
M ẢY, 1823.
A WITCH. At the last assizes at Taunton, very great curiosity was excited by the trial of three females, for an assault on a poor old woman, whom they chose to call “ A Witcb.” We really had hoped, that, in this enlightened country, there was hardly a person to be found who was foolish enough to believe that there was such a thing as a witch. In times of great ignorance, such foolish nonsense might be believed; but, in these days, when people are so much better instructed, it seems hardly possible that any body can be so stupid as to listen to such follies. So it was, however, in the village of Wivilscombe, near Taunton, Three women, Elizabeth Bryant the mother, aged 50; Elizabeth Bryant the younger, aged 22 ; and Jane Bryant, aged 15; were all three charged with having maliciously assaulted a poor old woman, Anne Burges, declaring her to be a Witch. Mr. Erskine (the son of Lord Erskine) stated the case to the jury; and in doing this be shewed the extreme absurdity and folly of believing in witchcraft; and then proceeded to describe thie particulars of the case before them. The elder prisoner was a married woman; and one of her daughters had been afflicted with fits.—This very silly mother, instead of consulting a proper person, who understood these things, went to consult a man, named Baker, who was said to be a conjuror,---ora cunning man. Now this sort of
Now this sort of person is generally very properly named, for he is in truth a cunning No. 29. VOL. III.
man :--not that he knows any thing at all about fits, or any other diseases ; but he is cunning enough to persuade some foolish people that he does ; and he is always cunciog enough to get the money out of these good people's pockets : in return for which, he sometimes gives them a pill, or a salve, or a plaister, which are all made up of nothing at all that can do any good; and then, he sometimes orders them to repeat a parcel of words—which have no meaning, and he persuades them to think that these words will charm away their complaints. - And, besides this, be sometimes adds a verse from Scripture,as if the holy words of Scripture were ever given to support. falsehood, or encourage these foolish superstitions.
This impostor, Baker, told the mother, Blizabeth Bryant, that her daughter was bewitched by a particular person in the neighbourhood, and that, to get rid of the charm, she must take some of his pills, and must have some other preparation of his, which she must burn, and that she must, at the same time, repeat some verses, and perform some ceremonies which he directed :-and, besides this, the wicked old man told her, that, to perform a complete cure; she must draw blood from the Witch.
Accordingly, these stupid people soon settled it that Anne Burges was the Witch that had caused the fits of the girl. This shameful report was spread about the neighbourhood, and soon came to the ears of Anne Burges herself, who appears to have been a very quiet steady sort of person. She aecordingly went to the house of the elder prisoner ; she met her in the dark passage of her house ; and she said in a very simple manner, that she came to know what foundation there was for the report raised against her. The prisoner flew at the poor woman like a fary, using the most horrid accusations and abuse. The two daughters, upon hearing the noise, instantly came out and fell upon the poor creature,
dragged her on the floor, and immediately proceeded to draw her blood. If they had had a weapon, they might, in their fury, have murdered ber ; but there was nothing at hand but a nail. With this, they set about tearing the woman's arm till they had lacerated her in a dreadful manner: and they seemed, indeed, as if they were determined to murder her ; and would probably have done so, had not another woman, who heard the screams, exerted herself vigorously to defend the object of this shameful attack.
It appeared, in evidence, on the trial, that the elder prisoner declared that she would kill the prosecutrix; that the younger daughter held the arm, whilst one of the others cut it; that the eldest said, " bring me a knife that we may cut the flesh off the old wretch's arms :" and they did, indeed, so tear her arms with an iron nail, that she was ill for more than a month afterwards; and her arm was bound up at the time of the trial. During all this attack, there was a great mob about the place, and none, but a woman who came with her, would assist to rescue the poor creature from her danger,--declaring that she was a Witeh.
The jury found the prisoners guilty.
They were condemned to four months imprisonment, besides the three months, during which they had already been confined.
The judge seemed very much to wish that he had the cunning man before him. It is to be hoped that this fellow will be brought to jastice: he would bardly be cunning enough to escape the just sen. tence of the law, which all such impostors deserve.
But how strange it is that any body should be so foolish as to believe the nonsense of these ignorant people! Some people, indeed, tell us that they have known surprizing cures performed by these conjurors. The truth is, that there are some disorders, particularly nervous disorders and fits, that depend a good deal upon the spirits and feelings ; and if a man can be cūnning enough to persuade a person that he shall most certainly cure his disorder, then the patient becomes very full of confidence and courage, sets about his business with great spirit, takes plenty of air and exercise, and does not suffer his mind to be depressed with fears and terrors ; and all this goes a great way towards curing any disorder that depends upon the state of the spirits. But how much better all this might be done by the confidence which a sensible person may justly have in the advice of a well educated and skilful person, who has been brought up to the study of diseases. Such a person, if he ordered medicines, would give such as might really be of use, and would give dif. ferent things according to the difference of the diseases. A regular bred person of this kind knows what belongs to different medicines, and studies all sorts of diseases, and knows when to give medicine, and in what quantities, and what way of living to recommend, according to the state of the patient. But the conjuring quack doctor knows nothing about the matter. He generally gives the same things for every kind of disorder : his pills are such as could do nobody any good, generally made out of the powder of some old post ;-—and his salves and physics are just as good-for-nothing. Now, as we have already observed, some people may have been persuaded to have a confidence in these said quacks; and this confidence may, in some cases, have been of service ; yet we may be sure that, in other cases, the advice of such ignorant people is quite rụinous ; for a disorder which requires great skill and judgment, will all the time be getting worse and worse, as long as the patient is in the bands of a man who knows nothing at all about what is the matter with him.