Saducismus Triumphatus: or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions/To the Reader

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search






THat thou hast no sooner enjoy'd this long expected Edition, thou can'st not justly blame either the Author or my self: Not my self, for I could not Publish the Book before I had it, nor the Author, because many unexpected Occasions drove off his Mind to other Matters, and interrupted him in his present Design, insomuch that he was snatch't away by Death before he had quite finished it. But tho' the learned World may very well lament the loß of so able and ingenious a Writer, yet as to this present point, if that may mitigate thy Sorrow, in all likelihood this Book had not seen the light so soon, if he had lived; so many emergent Occasions giving him new Interruptions, and offering him new Temptations to further delay: Indeed it had been desirable that it might have had the Polishing of his last Hand, as the Peruser of his Papers signifies in his last Advertisement; but to compensate this loss, the said Peruser, a Friend as well to his Design as to his Person, has digested those Materials he left into that order and distintness, and has so tied things together, and supplied them in his Advertisements, that to the judicious Reader nothing can seem wanting that may serve the ends of his intended Treatise; not to intimate what considerable things are added more than it is likely had been if he had finished it himself, for besides the Advertisements of the careful Peruser of his Papers, and that notable late Story of the Swedish Witches, Translated out of the German into the English Tongue, there is also added a short Treatise of the true and genuine notion of a Spirit, taken out of Dr. More's Enchiridion Metaphysicum, to entertain those that are more curious Searchers into the nature of these things; the number also of the Stories are much encreased above what was design'd by Mr. Glanvil, tho' none admitted but such as seemed very well attested and highly credible, to his abovesaid Friend, and such as rightly understood, contain nothing but what is consonant to right Reason and sound Philosophy, as I have heard him earnestly avouch, tho' it had been too tedious to have explained all; and it may be more grateful to the Reader to be left to exercise his own Wit and Ingeny upon the rest. These are the advantages this Edition of Mr. Glanvil's Demon of Tedworth, and his Considerations about Witchcraft have above any Edition before, tho' the last of them was so bought up that there was not a Copy of them to be had in all London and Cambridge, but the Peruser of his Papers was fain to break his own to serve the Press with. If these Intimations may move thy Appetite to the reading so pleasant and useful a Treatise, and yet I can add one thing more touching the story of the Dæmon of Tedworth which is very considerable, it is not for me indeed to take notice of that meanness of Spirit in the Exploders of Apparitions and Witches, which very strangely betray'd it self in the decrying of that well attested Narrative touching the stirs in Mr. Mompesson's House, where altho' they that came to be Spectators of the Marvelous things there done by invisible Agents, had all the Liberty imaginable, even to the ripping of the Bolsters open to search and try if they could discover any natural Cause and cunning Artifice whereby such strange feats were done; and numbers that had free access from Day to Day, were abundantly satisy'd of the reality of the thing, That the House was haunted and disturbed by Dæmons or Spirits; yet some few Years after the stirs had ceased, the truth of this Story lying so uneasie in the Minds of the disgusters of such things, they rais'd a Report, when none of them, no not the most diligent and curious could detect any trick or fraud themselves in the matter, That both Mr. Glanvil himself, who published the Narrative, and Mr. Mompesson, in whose House these wonderful things happen'd, had confest the whole Matter to be a Cheat and Imposture, and they were so diligent in spreading abroad this gross untruth, that it went current in all the three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, an egregious discovery of what kind of Spirit this sort of Men are, which as I said, though it be not for me to take notice of, yet I will not stick to signifie it being both for mine own Interest and the Interest of Truth, that those Reports raised touching Mr. Glanvil, by his Preface to the second part of the Book; that touching Mr. Mompesson, by two Letters of his own, the one to Mr. Glanvil, the other to my self, which are subjoined to the said Preface: Which thing alone may justly be deemed to add a very great weight to the value, as of that Story so of this present Edition; but I will not upon pretence of exciting thy Appetite keep thee from the satisfying it by an overlong Preface, which yet, if it may seem to be defective in any thing, the Doctor's Letter (where amongst other things you shall meet with that famous and well attested Story of the Apparition of Anne Walker's Ghost to the Miller) will, I hope, make an abundant supply. I shall add nothing more my self, but that I am

Your humble, &c.