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Short Treatise Touching Sheriffs Accompts - HALE Matthew BROWNE Thomas - 1682. 
1682 - (BROWNE, Thomas) HALE, Matthew. Short Treatise Touching Sheriffs Accompts". to which is Added, a Tryal of Witches, at the Assizes held at Bury St. Edmonds, for the County of Suffolk, on the 10th of March 1664. London: Will. Shrowsbery / William Shrewsbery, 1683 / 1682. Small octavo, contemporary full brown sheep rebacked, red morocco spine label, raised bands. $4200.First edition of A Tryal of Witches on the notorious witchcraft trial at Bury St. Edmonds, one of the key witchcraft trials of the 17th century, a psychiatric and legal cornerstone so influential that "the Salem witch-hunts might not have taken place if there had not been a trial at Bury St. Edmonds." In one volume with Hale's 1683 Short Treatise Touching Sheriffs Accompt.According to the charges listed in Tryal of Witches, Rose Cullender and Amy Drury, two elderly widows, had caused children to become suddenly and violently ill, to vomit nails and pins, and to see mice, ducks, and flies invisible to others. Additionally, a toad was alleged to have run out of the bed of the young mother of one of their victims. When thrown into the fire, the toad "made a great and horrible Noise, and after a space there was a flashing in the Fire like Gun-powder, making a noise like the discharge of a Pistol, and thereupon the Toad was no more seen nor heard" (6). The pair was ultimately hanged, though neither confessed to being a witch.The case "strongly influenced the most notable of America's witchcraft prosecutions, the Salem trials of 1692. Indeed, the Salem witch-hunts might not have taken place if there had not been a trial at Bury St. Edmonds: the events at Salem notoriously imitated those at Bury. Cotton Mather in his Wonders of the Invisible World included a large number of excerpts and interpretations of the Bury trial in order to justify what happened at Salem" (Bunn & Geis 7). Sir Thomas Browne, a noted physician to whom Tryal of Witches has been attributed, played a principal role as the prosecution's medical expert. In his earlier writings, specifically Religio Medici (1642), Browne asserted during the Bury St. Edmonds assize that "the persons were Bewitched". [since] the Devil in such cases did work upon the Bodies of Men and Women". to stir up, and excite such humours super-abounding in their Bodies to a great excess"(41). Hale, whose Short Treatise is in the same volume, was a highly respected and influential jurist. "In his statement to the jury, Hale made no doubt at all of the reality of witchcraft, citing the Scriptures and the laws enacted against witchcraft as proof of its existence". Browne's testimony in support of the reality of witchcraft may be the first documented example of expert testimony by a physician in reference to a psychiatric issue. His testimony also played a role in the Salem witch trials, as Cotton Mather quoted it to allay the doubts of those who challenged the reality of witchcraft" (Norman Library 966). Hale's Short Treatise Touching Sherriffs Accompts separately issued the same year, no priority established. Bound in one volume as issued with first edition of Tryal of Witches containing separate 1682 title page. Wing H260. ESTC R14358. Text generally fresh and clean, light rubbing and early repairs to boards. An extremely good copy. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
[Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
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