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and then to look to the children. At five-a-clock she went to a neighbor's house, and knocked at the door; but they would not rise. At six she went again; then they rose, and let her in. She related to them all that had pass'd: they would persuade her she was mistaken or dreamt. But she confidently affirmed, 'If ever I saw her in all my life, I saw her this night.'

"One of those to whom she made the relation (Mary, the wife of John Sweet) had a messenger came from Mulling that forenoon, to let her know her neighbor Goffe was dying, and desired to speak with her. She went over, the same day, and found her just departing. The mother, among other discourse, related to her how much her daughter had long'd to see the children, and said she had seen them. This brought to Mrs. Sweet's mind what the nurse had told her that morning; for till then she had not thought to mention it, but disguised it, rather, as the woman's disturbed imagination.

"The substance of this I had related to me by John Carpenter, the father of the deceased, the next day after her burial. July the second, I fully discoursed the matter with the nurse and two neighbors to whose house she went that morning. Two days after, I had it from the mother, the minister that was with her in the evening, and the woman who sat up with her that last night. They all agree in the same story, and every one helps to strengthen the other's testimony. They appear to be sober, intelligent persons, far enough off from designing to impose a cheat upon the world, or to manage a lye; and what temptation they could lye under for so doing, I cannot conceive.

"Sir, that God would bless your pious endeavors for the conviction of Atheists and Sadduces, and the promoting of true religion and godliness, and that this narrative may conduce somewhat towards the further



ing of that great work, is the hearty desire and prayer

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This story, simply and touchingly told, is a narrative of events alleged to have occurred in the same year in which Baxter's work was published,-to wit, in 1691; related by a clergyman of the vicinity, writing of circumstances all of which had transpired within five weeks of the day on which he wrote, and most of which he had verified within five days of the date of his letter,—namely, on the 2d and 4th of July, 1691. The names and residences of all the witnesses are given, and the exact time and place of the occurrences to which they testify. It would be difficult to find any narrative of that day better attested.

The exception which doubters will take to it is not, probably, that the witnesses conspired to put forth a falsehood, for that is incredible; but that the dying mother, inspired with preternatural strength by the earnest longing after her children, had actually arisen during the night between the 3d and 4th of June, had found her way from West Mulling to Rochester, entered her dwelling and seen her children, and then returned, before morning, to her father's house; that Mrs. Turner, as sick-nurses will, had fallen asleep, and, even if she did awake and miss her patient before her return, had refrained from saying a word about it, lest she might be taxed with neglect of duty. And, in support of such a hypothesis, skepticism might quote this anecdote, related by Sir Walter Scott.*

"Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft," by Sir Walter Scott, Bart., 2d ed., 1857, pp. 371 to 374.



A philosophical club at Plymouth were wont to hold their meetings, during the summer months, in a cave by the sea-shore, and at other times in a summer-house standing in the garden of a tavern, to the door of which garden some of the members, living adjacent, had private pass-keys. The members of the club presided alternately. On one occasion the president of the evening was ill,-reported to be on his death-bed; but, from respect, his usual chair was left vacant. Suddenly, while the members were conversing about him, the door opened, and the appearance of the president entered the room, wearing a white wrapper and night-cap, and presenting the aspect of death, took the vacant place, lifted an empty glass to his lips, bowed to the company, replaced his glass, and stalked out of the room. The appalled company, after talking over the matter, dispatched two of their number to ascertain the condition of their president. When they returned with the frightful intelligence that he had just expired, the members, fearing ridicule, agreed that they would remain silent on the subject.

Some years afterward, the old woman who had acted as sick-nurse to the deceased member, being on her death-bed, confessed to her physician, who happened to be one of the club, that, during her sleep, the patient, who had been delirious, awoke and left the apartment; that, on herself awaking, she hurried out of the house in search of him, met him returning, and replaced him in bed, where he immediately died. Fearing blame for her carelessness, she had refrained from saying any thing of the matter.

Scott, in quoting this and a few other simple explanations of what might seem extraordinary occurrences, remarks, that "to know what has been discovered in many cases, gives us the assurance of the ruling cause



in all."* Nothing can be more illogical. It is a troublesome thing to get at the truth; but if we desire to get at it we must take the trouble. If it be a tedious process, it is the only safe one, to test each example by evidence sought and sifted (as the diplomatic phrase is) ad hoc. If, because we detect imposture in a single case, we slur over twenty others as equally unreliable, we are acting no whit more wisely than he who, having received in a certain town a bad dollar, presently concludes that none but counterfeits are to be met with there. It ought to make him more careful in examining the next coin he receives; nothing more. And so we, knowing that in some cases, as in this of the Plymouth club, appearances may deceive, should be upon our guard against such deceit,—not conclude that in every analogous example the same or similar explanation will


Will it serve in the Mary Goffe case? The distance between her father's house and her own was nine miles. Three hours to go and three to return, six hours in all, -say from eleven till five o'clock,-would have been required to travel it by a person in good health, walking, without stopping, at an ordinary pace. One can believe, as in the Plymouth example, that a patient, in delirium, may, very shortly before his death, walk a few hundred yards. But is it credible that a dying woman, so weak that her friends considered her unfit to be taken out of her bed, should walk eighteen miles unaided and alone? The nurse declares that her patient fell into a trance between one and two o'clock, and that she put her hand upon her mouth and nostrils, but could perceive no breath. Suppose this a falsehood, invented to shelter negligence: can we imagine that, after a visit from a clergyman at ten, the nurse, attending a person

"Demonology and Witchcraft," p. 367.



hourly expected to die, should fall asleep before eleven o'clock, and not wake till after five, or that, if she did wake and find her patient gone, she would not alarm the house? But grant all these extreme improbabilities. Can we believe that the father and mother of a dying woman would both abandon her on the last night of her life for more than six hours? Or can we suppose, under such circumstances, that the patient could issue from her chamber and the house before eleven o'clock, and return to it after five, unseen by any one, either in going or returning?

Nor are these the only difficulties. Mrs. Goffe herself declared, next morning, that it was in dream only she had seen her children. And if this was not true, and if she actually walked to Rochester, is it credible that she would but look, in silence, for a few minutes, on her sleeping babes, and then, quitting them without even a word of farewell, recommence the weary way to her father's house? When she so earnestly begged her husband to hire a horse, what was the argument with which she urged her request? "She must go home, and die with the children."

I submit to the judgment of the reader these considerations. Let him give to them the weight to which he may deem them entitled. But if, finally, he incline to the theory of a nocturnal journey by the patient, then I beg of him to consider in what manner he will dispose of the parallel case,-that of the Rev. Mr. Wilkins, where the distance between mother and son was a hundred miles?

Abercrombie, admitting the facts of this latter case as Wilkins states them, merely says, "This singular dream must have originated in some strong mental impression which had been made on both individuals about the same time; and to have traced the source of it would have been a subject of great interest."

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