Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"The White-Witch is presently sent for to bless.": John Brinley on White Witches (1680)

Here are two quotes from John Brinley's relatively minor and reputedly unoriginal book on Witchcraft, first published in 1680: The Discovery of the Impostures of Witches and Astrologers:

1. Quoted in The Lancashire Witches, Robert Poole, chapter seven: "Beyond Pendle".
"These are such as we usually call White Witches, a sort of Sots who being Gull'd and having their understanding Dabauch'd by Superstition, do evil that good may come of it, that is use Charms, Spells and Incantations (all of which are of no force without the Cooperation of the Devil) to remove Distempters, and do certain Feats in some measure useful to mankind yet of pernicious consequences to themselves."

2. Quoted in Notes and Queries, November 2, 1878, p. 342
"The ignorant multitude in all Misfortunes, Crosses and Afflictions, forthwith make their Applications to them as most readily help. If a man be sick, where shall he have his Physick but from one that fetches it from behind the Curtain? If he lie under any Misfortune he presently betakes himself to some Fortune-teller or Conjurer. If the Cattel be sick, the White-Witch is presently sent for to bless."