Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Female Witch Myth - Hanging those "Evil Women" in Britain's Colonies

 In 1692, a group of young girls, not yet full-grown women, in Salem Village, Massachusetts were accused of witchcraft, & 20 were eventually executed as witches; however, none of the condemned was burned at the stake. In accordance with English law, 19 of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials were instead taken to the infamous Gallows Hill to die by hanging.

An earlier woodcut of the hanging of female witches from Richard Gardiner, England's Grievance Discovered. 1655

The Female Witch Myth was strengthened by English Jurist Matthew Hale (1609-1676), whose writings & court rulings on women were/are far-reaching & long-lasting. In 1662, he was involved in one of the most notorious of the 17C English witchcraft trials, where he sentenced 2 women to death for being witches. The judgment of Hale in this case was extremely influential in future cases in England & in the British American colonies, & was used in the 1692 Salem witch trials to justify the forfeiture of the accused's lands. As late as 1664, Hale used the argument that the existence of laws against witches is proof that witches exist.

Perhaps English Jurist Matthew Hale (1609-1676) read Malleus Maleficarum 1486 (translated by Montague Summers 1928 - see Google Books) Written in Latin & first submitted to the University of Cologne on May 9th, 1487, the title is translated as "The Hammer of Witches." Written in 1486 by Austrian priest Heinrich Kramer (also Kraemer) & German priest Jakob (also James) Sprenger, at the request of Pope Innocent VIII. As the main justification for persecution of witches, the authors relied on a brief passage in the Bible (the book of Exodus, chapter 22, verse 18), which states: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." The Malleus remained in use for 300 years. It had tremendous influence in the witch trials in England & her North American colonies, & on the European continent. 

The Malleus was used as a judicial case-book for the detection & persecution of witches, specifying rules of evidence & the canonical procedures by which suspected witches were tortured & put to death. Thousands of people (primarily women) were judicially murdered as a result of the procedures described in the book because of having a strange birthmark, living alone, mental illness, cultivating medicinal herbs, or simply because they were falsely accused (often for financial gain by the accuser). The Malleus serves as a chilling warning of what happens when intolerance takes over a society.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Pilgrim Mary Brewster (c1569-1627) arrived arrived on The Mayflower

Mary Brewster (c 1569-1627) was a Pilgrim & one of the women on the Mayflower.  She was the wife of Elder William Brewster.

Mary Brewster & her husband William married in 1592 & had their first son Jonathan in Scrooby a year later. She next had a daughter Patience, born about 1600 or somewhat earlier.

About 1606, the church congregation began more formally meeting at the Scrooby manor, where she & husband William resided. About this time, pressure from the English authorities was mounting, & the meetings became more & more secretive. She gave birth to another daughter at this time, which they named Fear.

The couple fled just over a year later for Holland with the other members of the congregation, & in Leiden they buried an unnamed child: presumably one that had died in infancy. In 1611, she gave birth to a son they named Love, & two or three years later gave birth to their last son, whom they named Wrestling.

William became the senior elder of the American colony. He was an advisor to Governor William Bradford.  She was one of only five adult women from the Mayflower to survive the first winter in the New World, & one of only four such to survive to the "first Thanksgiving" in 1621, which she helped cook.

As such, she is included in Plimoth Plantation's re-enactment of that Thanksgiving. She is thought to have had six children with William - Jonathan, Patience, Fear, Love, an unnamed child who died young, & Wrestling. The two youngest journeyed with their parents on Mayflower, while the three elder children joined their family on later ships. Her son, Jonathan Brewster (1593-1659) & his wife Lucretia Oldham, had nine children. One of those children was also named Mary Brewster. Her life in England is fairly untraceable in the British records, as is her maiden name.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Colonial Charter - King's Grant of New Jersey to Sir George Carteret, 1674

Europeans trading with the original inhabitants of New Jersey. No women mentioned in the 1674 Charter, but a couple of them cower behind the doorway here.

His Royal Highness's Grant of New Jersey to the Lords Proprietors, Sir George Carteret, 29th July, 1674

This Indenture made the ninth and twentieth day of JULY, in the twenty and sixth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second, by the grace of God of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Anno Domini, one thousand six hundred seventy-four. Albany, Earl of Ulster, Lord High Admiral of Scotland and Ireland, of the one part, and Sir George Carteret of Saltrum in the County of Devon, Knight, Vice Chamberlain of his Majesty's household of the other part. WHEREAS his Majesty King Charles the Second, by his Letters Patent, under the Great Seal of: England, bearing date the twenty-ninth day of June, in the twenty-sixth year of his said Majesty's reign, did for the consideration therein mentioned, give and grant unto his said Royal Highness James Duke of York, his heirs and assigns, all that part of the main land of New England, beginning at a certain place called or known by the name of St. Croix next adjoining to New Scotland, in America; and from thence extending along the sea coast unto a certain place called Pemaquine or Pemaquid, and so up the river thereof to the furthest head of the same as it tendeth northward; and extending from thence to the river Kenebeque, and so upwards by the shortest course to the same commonly called by the several name or names of Mattowacks or Long Island, situate and being towards the west of Cape Codd and the Narrow Higansetts, abutting upon the main land between the two rivers there, called or known by the several names of Connecticutt, and Hudson's river; together also with the said river called Hudson's river, and all the lands from the west side of Connecticutt river to the east side of Delaware bay: And also several other islands and lands, in the said Letters Patent mentioned, together with the rivers, harbors, mines, minerals, quarries, woods, marshes, waters, fishing, hawking, hunting, and fowling, and all other royalties, proffits, commodities and hereditaments to the said several islands, lands and premises belonging or appertaining, to have and to hold the said lands, islands, hereditaments and premises, with their and every of their appurtenances, unto his said Royal Highness James Duke of York, his heirs and assigns for ever; to be holden of his said Majesty, his heirs and successors as of the manner of East Greenwich in the County of Kent, in free and common soccage, yielding and paying to his said Majesty his heirs and successors of and for the same, yearly and every year, forty beaver skins, when they shall be demanded, or within ninety days after; with divers other grants, clauses, provisoes, and agreements in the said recited Letters Patents contain'd, as by the said Letters Patents, relation being "hereunto had, it doth and may more plainly appear. Now this indenture witnesseth, that his said Royal Highness James Duke of York, for and in consideration of a competent sum of good and lawful money of England to his Royal Highness in hand paid by the said Sir George Carteret, before the ensealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof his said Royal Highness James Duke of York, doth hereby acknowledge, and thereof doth acquit and discharge the said Sir George Carteret, his heirs and assigns for ever by these presents, hath granted, bargained, sold, released and confirmed, and by these presents doth grant, bargain, sell, release and confirm unto the said Sir George Carteret, his heirs and assigns for ever, all that tract of land adjacent to New England, and lying and being to the westward of Long Island and Manhitas Island, and bounded on the east part by the main sea, and part by Hudson's river, and extends southward as far as a certain creek called Barnegatt, being about the middle, between Sandy Point and Cape May, and bounded on the west in a strait line from the said creek called Barnegat, to a certain Creek in Delaware river, next adjoining to and below a certain creek in Delaware river called Renkokus Kill, and from thence up the said Delaware river to the northermost branch thereof, which is forty-one degrees and forty minutes of latitude; and on the north, crosseth over thence in a strait line to Hudson's river, in forty-one degrees of latitude; which said tract of land is hereafter to be called by the name or names of New Caeserea or New Jersey: And also all rivers, mines, minerals, woods, fishings, hawking, hunting, and fowIing, and all royalties, profits, commodities, and hereditaments whatsoever, to the said lands, and premises belonging or appertaining; with their and every of their appurtenances, in as full and ample manner as the same is granted unto the said James Duke of York, by the before recited Letters Patents; and all the estate, right, title, interest benefit, advantage, claim and demand of the said James Duke of York of in and to the said lands and premises, or any part or parcel thereof, and the reversion and reversions, remainder and remainders thereof: All which said tract of land and premises were by indenture, bearing date the day before the date hereof, bargain'd and sold by the said James Duke of York, unto Sir George Carteret, for the term of one whole year to commence from the eighth and twentieth day of July next before the date hereof, under the rent of one peper corn, payable as therein is mentioned as by the said deed more plainly may appear: By force and virtue of which said indenture of bargain and sale, and of the statute made for transferring of usses into possession, the said Sir George Carteret, is in actual possession of the said tract of land and premises, and enabled to take a grant and release thereof, the said lease being made to that end and purpose, to have and to hold all and singular the said-tract of land and premises; with their, and every of their appurtenances, and every part and parcel thereof, unto the said Sir George Carteret, his heirs and assigns to the only behoof of the said Sir George Carteret his heirs and assigns for ever; yielding and paying therefore unto the said James Duke of York, his heirs and assigns, for the tract of land and premises, yearly the sum of twenty nobles of lawful money of England, if the same shall be lawfully demanded at or in the Inner Temple Hall, I,ondon, at the feast of St. Michael the Arch Angel yearly. And the said Sir George Carteret for himself, his heirs, and assigns, doth covenant and grant to and with the said James Duke of York, his heirs and assigns by these presents, that he the said Sir George Carteret, his heirs and assigns, shall and will well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto his said BoyalHiness James Duke of York, his heirs and assigns, the said yearly rent of twenty nobles at such time and place, and in such manner and formulas before in these presents is express'd and declared. Provided always and upon this condition, that the said Sir George Carteret do cause a copy of this Grant and demise to be entered with the auditor of his said Royal Highness, within one month next after the execution of this present grant and demise. IN WITNESS WHEREOF the parties to these presents have interchangeably set their hands and seals, the day and year first above written.   Sign'd.  JAMES.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Colonial Charter - Fundamental Laws, of West New Jersey, Agreed Upon - 1676

Europeans trading with the original peoples of New Jersey

New Jersey’s early colonial history is similar to New York’s. Like New York, the area was first colonized by Dutch settlers around 1613. The colony was called New Netherland, & included parts of modern-day New York & New Jersey. In 1660, the town of Bergen became the first established town in the New Jersey portion of New Netherland. Today, it is named Jersey City.

By 1664, the British had claimed the entire region & had driven the Dutch out. New Netherland was renamed New Jersey & New Amsterdam was renamed New York. Although King Charles originally gave the region to his brother, the Duke of York, eventually, he decided to divide the region & gave the land between the Hudson & Delaware River (New Jersey) to two of his friends, Sir George Carteret & Lord Berkeley of Stratton.

Carteret & Berkeley began attracting people to the area by offering land & guaranteeing religious freedom. In return for the land, the settlers were supposed to pay a yearly tax called a quit-rent. The quit-rents proved hard to collect, which prompted the sale of the land to the Quakers in 1673. Upon the sale, New Jersey was divided in West Jersey & East Jersey. However, by 1702, the two divisions were united as the royal colony of New Jersey.

The Charter or Fundamental Laws, of West New Jersey, Agreed Upon - 1676

That the common law or fundamental rights and priviledges of West New Jersey, are individually agreed upon by the Proprietors and freeholders thereof, to be the foundation of the government, which is not to be altered by the Legislative authority, or free Assembly hereafter mentioned and constituted, but that the said Legislative authority is constituted according to these fundamentals, to make such laws as agree with, and maintain the said fundamentals, and to make no laws that in the least contradict, differ or vary from the said fundamentals, under what presence or alligation soever.

But if it so happen that any person or persons of the said General Assembly, shall therein designedly, willfully, and maliciously, move or excite any to move, any matter or thing whatsoever, that contradicts or any ways subverts, any fundamentals of the said laws in the Constitution of the government of this Province, it being proved by seven honest and reputable persons, he or they shall be proceeded against as traitors to the said government.

That these Concessions, law or great charter of fundamentals, be recorded in a fair table. in the Assembly House, and that they be read at the beginning and dissolving of every general free Assembly: And it is further agreed and ordained, that the said Concessions, common law, or great charter of fundamentals, be writ in fair tables in every common hall of justice within this Province, and that they be read in solemn manner four times every year, in the presence of the people, by the chief magistrates of those places.

That no men, nor number of men upon earth, hath power or authority to rule over men's consciences in religious matters, therefore it is consented, agreed and ordained, that no person or persons whatsoever within the said Province, at any time or times hereafter, shall be any ways upon any presence whatsoever, called in question, or in the least punished or hurt, either in person, estate, or priviledge, for the sake of his opinion, judgment, faith or worship towards God in matters of religion. But that all and every such person, and persons may from time to time, and at all times, freely and fully have, and enjoy his and their judgments, and the exercises of their consciences in matters of religious worship throughout all the said Province.

That no Proprietor, freeholder or inhabitant of the said Province of West New Jersey, shall be deprived or condemned of life, limb, liberty, estate, property or any ways hurt in his or their privileges, freedoms or franchises, upon any account whatsoever, without a due tryal, and Judgment passed by twelve good and lawful men of his neighborhood first had: And that in all causes to be tryed, and in all tryals, the person or persons, arraigned may except against any of the said neghborhood, without any reason rendered, (not exceeding thirty five) and in case of any valid reason alleged, against every person nominated for that service.

And that no Proprietor, freeholder, freedenison, or inhabitant in the said Province, shall be attached, arrested, or imprisoned for or by reason of any debt, duty, or thing whatsoever (cases felonious criminal and treasonable Excepted) before he or she have personal summon or summons, left at his or her last dwelling place, if in the said Province, by some legal authorized officer, constituted and appointed for that purpose, to appear in some court of judicature for the said Province, with a full and plain account of the cause or thing in demand, as also the name or names of the person or persons at whose suit, and the court where he is to appear, and that he hath at least fourteen days time to appear and answer the said suit, if he or she live or inhabit within forty miles English of the said court, and if at a further distance, to have for every twenty miles, two days time more, for his and their appearance, and so proportionately for a larger distance of place.

That upon the recording of the summons, and non-appearance of such person and persons, a writ or attachment shall or may be issued out to arrest, or attach the person or persons of such defaulters, to cause his or their appearance in such court, returnable at a day certain to answer the penalty or penalties, in such suit or suits; and if he or they shall be condemned by legal tryal and judgment, the penalty or penalties shall be paid and satisfied out of his or their real or personal estate so condemned, or cause the person or persons so condemned, to lie in execution till satisfaction of the debt and damages be made. Provided always, if such person or persons so condemned, shall pay and deliver such estate, goods, and chattles which he or any other person hath for his or their use, and shall solemnly declare and aver, that he or they have not any further estate, goods or chattles wheresoever to satisfy the person or persons, (at whose suit, he or they are condemned) their respective judgments, and shall also bring and produce three other persons as compurgators, who are well known and of honest reputation, and approved of by the commissioners of that division, where they dwell or inhabit, which shall in such open court, likewise solemnly declare and aver, that they believe in their consciences, such person and persons so condemned, have not werewith further to pay the said condemnation or condemnations, he or they shall be thence forthwith discharged from their said imprisonment, any law or custom to the contrary thereof, heretofore in the said Province, notwithstanding. And upon such summons and default of appearance, recorded as aforesaid, and such person and persons not appearing within forty days after, it shall and may be lawful for such court of judicature to proceed to tryal, of twelve lawful men to judgment, against such defaulters, and issue forth execution against his or their estate, real and personal, to satisfy such penalty or penalties, to such debt and damages so recorded, as far as it shall or may extend.

That there shall be in every court, three justices or commissioners, who shall sit with the twelve men of the neighborhood, with them to hear all causes, and to assist the said twelve men of the neighborhood in case of law; and that they the said justices shall pronounce such judgment as they shall receive from, and be directed by the said twelve men in whom only the judgment resides, and not otherwise.

And in case of their neglect and refusal, that then one of the twelve, by consent of the rest, pronounce their own judgment as the justices should have done.

And if any judgment shall be past, in any case civil or criminal, by any other person or persons, or ally other way, then according to this agreement and appointment, it shall be held null and void, and such person or persons so presuming to give judgment, shall be severely fin'd, and upon complaint made to the General Assembly, by them be declared incapable of any office or trust within this Province.

That in all matters and causes, civil and criminal, proof is to be made by the solemn and plain averment, of at least two honest and reputable persons; arid in case that any person or persons shall bear false witness, and bring in his or their evidence, contrary to the truth of the matter as shall be made plainly to appear, that then every such person or persons, shall in civil causes, suffer the penalty which would be due to the person or persons he or they bear witness against. And in case any witness or witnesses, on the behalf of any person or persons, indicted in a criminal cause, shall be found to have borne false witness for fear, gain, malice or favour, and thereby hinder the due execution of the law, and deprive the suffering person or persons of their due satisfaction, that then and in all other cases of false evidence, such person or persons, shall be first severely fined, and next that he or they shall forever be disabled from being admitted in evidence, or into any public office, employment, or service within this Province.

That all and every person and persons whatsoever, who shall prosecute or prefer any indictment or information against others for any personal injuries, or matter criminal, or shall prosecute for any other criminal cause, (treason, murther, and felony, only excepted) shall and may be master of his own process, and 1lave full power to forgive and remit the person or persons offending against him or herself only, as well before as after judgment, and condemnation, and pardon and remit the sentence, fine and punishment of the person or persons offending, be it personal or other whatsoever.

That the tryals of all causes, civil and criminal, shall be heard and decided by the virdict or judgment of twelve honest men of the neighborhood, only to be summoned and presented by the sheriff of that division, or propriety where the fact or trespass is committed; and that no person or persons shall he compelled to fee any attorney or councillor to plead his cause, but that all persons have free liberty to plead his own cause, if he please: And that no person nor persons imprisoned upon any account whatsoever within this Province, shall be obliged to pay any fees to the officer or officers of the said prison, either when committed or discharged.

That in all publick courts of justice for tryals of causes, civil or criminal, any person or persons, inhabitants of the said Province may freely come into, and attend the said courts, and hear and be present, at all or any such tryals as shall be there had or passed, that justice may not be done in a corner nor in any covert manner, being intended and resolved, by the help of the Lord, and by these our Concessions and Fundamentals, that all and every person and persons inhabiting the said Province, shall, as far as in us lies, be free from oppression and slavery.