Page:Groton In The Witchcraft Times.djvu/11

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6
GROTON IN THE WHITCHCRAFT TIMES

of three sermons, of which one was preached in consequence of this supposed manifestation of the Devil. The fame or notoriety of the case evidently had spread far and wide throughout the colony. Mr. Willard says:

There is a voice in it to the whole Land, but in a more especial manner to poor Groton: it is not a Judgement afar off, but it is near us, yea among us, God hath in his wisdome singled out this poor Town out of all others in this Wilderness, to dispense such an amazing Providence in, and therefore let us make a more near and special use of it: Let us look upon our selves to be set up as a Beacon upon a Hill by this Providence, and let those that hear what hath been done among us, hear also of the good effects, and reformation it hath wrought among us.

The victim of the witchcraft was one Elizabeth Knapp, who had the long train of symptoms which were then usually ascribed to the personal influence of the Evil One, but which nowadays would constitute a well-marked case of hysteria. She was the daughter of James and Elizabeth (Warren) Knapp, and born at Watertown, on April 21, 1655. Her father's house-lot was situated on the west side of Main Street, at the southerly end of the village; and the family were living, doubtless, on that site when the daughter was seized with the symptoms.

The original letter of Mr. Willard, describing the case, is still preserved, and is found numbered 3 in the second volume of the "Mather Papers" now at the Boston Public Library. It is written in a very small, cramped hand, and contained in four pages of manuscript, which is extremely difficult to read. It has been printed in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, volume viii., fourth series, pages 555-570; but the present copy is made independently of that one, and varies slightly from it. The letter is as follows:—