Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Provincial Council of Pennsylvania tackles witchcraft allegations


Last September, I wrote about an old book titled "Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania. From the Organization to the Termination of the Proprietary Government. Published by the State. Vol. II. Containing the Proceedings of Council From December 18, 1700, to May 15, 1717."

I called it "pretty boring."

But, delving into it again, I found a neat tidbit worth sharing. You can never go wrong with some witchcraft allegations to spice up your council meeting. Here's the full excerpt:

"At a Council held at Philadelphia ye 21st of 3 Mo, 1701. ...

"A Petition of Robt. Guard and his Wife being read, setting forth That a Certain Strange Woman lately arrived in this Town being Seized with a very Sudden illness after she had been in their Company on the 17th Instant, and Several Pins being taken out of her Breasts, One John Richards, Butcher, and his Wife Ann, charged the Petitrs with Witchcraft, & as being the Authors of the Said Mischief; and therefore, Desire their Accusers might be sent for, in Order either to prove their Charge, or that they might be acquitted, they Suffering much in their Reputation, & by that means in their Trade.

"Ordered, that the Said John & Ann Richards be sent for; who appearing, the matter was inquired into, & being found trifling, was Dismissed."

So there you have it.

I'm a little surprised the Provincial Council didn't further assess the alleged witch, to make sure she didn't weigh the same as a duck.

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