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said in favour of its being appropriated to the eldest descent of the first branch of the royal line of England and France, I have myself seen a very remarkable instance of such a cure, which could not possibly be ascribed to the regal unction.” He then tells us of one Christopher Lovel, born at Wells in Somersetshire, but when he grew up residing in Bristol and working as a labourer. This man was so afflicted with scrofula that he was a most wretched object. His neck, head, arms, &c., abounded with sores, and on one side of his neck was such a tumour as obliged him to go with his head always on one side. No medical advice or remedy being of any use, he resolved to go abroad and get touched. By means of an uncle, an old seaman, in August, 1716, he managed to get across to France, and made his way to Paris, where he was touched by the eldest lineal descendant of the French kings, who had for ages cured that disease by touch. This prince, however, was then neither crowned nor anointed, so that it could not proceed from this regal act, but nevertheless the effect was the same. The man was completely cured, and got back to Bristol in perfect health in the beginning of January following, having been only four months and a few days on his journey. There Carte saw him in vigorous health, having no remains of his complaint except the red scars on the five places where the sores had been, but then entirely healed and as sound as the rest of his body. Dr. Lane and Dr. Pye, the latter of whom had tried in vain for three years to cure Lovel, took Mr. Carte to him, and declared it the most wonderful cure they had ever witnessed. Mr. Carte adds that he himself was perfectly sceptical of most cures till Mr. Anstis, Garter-King-of-Arms, furnished him with undoubted proofs of them in the English records, and such as were recorded by Tucker in his work on that subject. But nothing could be more surprising than this cure of Lovel's, and no case could be known to such infinite multitudes of people as this.
OLD BRIDGET BOSTOCK, THE HEALER OF CHESHIRE, 1748.
Old Bridget Bostock, of Coppenhall, betwixt Sandbach and Nantwich, in her day was as famous as the Zouave of our time for curing almost every afflicted creature that came to her. The Nantwich papers of August and September, 1748, gave this account of her :-“Old Bridget Bostock fills the country with as much talk as the rebels did. She hath all her lifetime made it her business to cure her neighbours of sore legs and other disorders, but her reputation seems now so wonderfully increased that people came to her from far and near. A year ago she had, as I remember, about 40 under her care, which afterwards in
creased to 100 a week, and then to 160. Sunday sen'night, after dinner," says the writer, “I and my wife went to this doctress's house, and were told by Mr. S and Tom Mwho kept the door and let people in by fives and sixes, that they had that day told off 600 whom she had administered to, besides making a cheese. She at length grew so faint, for she never broke her fast till she had done, that at six o'clock she was obliged to give over, though there were then more than 60 persons whom she had not attended to. Monday last she had 700, and every day now pretty nearly that number. She cures the blind, the deaf, the lame of all sorts, rheumatism, king's evil, hysteric fits, falling fits, shortness of breath, dropsy, palsy, leprosy, cancers, and in short almost every thing; and all the means she uses for cure are only stroking with fasting spittle, and praying for them. It is hardly credible to think what cures she performs. Some people grow well whilst in the house; others on the road home; and it is said none miss. People come 60 miles round. In our lane, where there have not been two coaches seen before these twelve years, now three or four pass in a day, and the poor come by cart loads. She is about 70 years of age, and keeps old Bostock's house, who allows her 358. a-year wages; and though money is offered her she takes none for her cures. Her dress is very plain. She wears a flannel waistcoat, a great linsey apron, a pair of clogs, and a plain cap tied with a halfpenny lace. So many people of fashion now come to her, that several people make a comfortable subsistence by holding their horses. In short, the poor, the rich, the lame, the blind and the deaf all pray for her and bless her ; but the doctors curse her.”
This account was confirmed by two correspondents of the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XVIII., pp. 413 and 414, who had been and seen for themselves. One of them says that the clergyman of Coppenhall, the Rev. William Harding, gave her a good character; said that she was one of the most constant attendants of his church, and had immediately cured his son of lameness when all other doctors had failed; that Mrs. Gradwell, of Liverpool, had wonderfully recovered her sight by her assistance; but that it was not true that all were cured who came.
These accounts fetched out, as they were sure to do, one of the class of Senior Wranglers, who, without having gone to see, endeavoured to reason the facts away that thousands of others had seen. Bridget Bostock's cures could not, according to him, be supernatural, because supernatural ones are instant; they could not be natural, because she used no natural means; ergo, they must be what we now-a-days call humbug, an expressive word that the Wranglers of that day were not fortunate enough to have. What most offended this writer was, that Bridget
demanded a great deal of faith in her patients, which showed, he said, “what a daring, presumptuous and impudent mockery was being carried on.” And the man did not see what an impudent mockery he himself was carrying on, in sitting at home at a distance and scribbling, without going to see what the real facts were, and contradicting those who did. That imposture is sometimes committed is just as likely as that truth is treated as imposture; and those only who look into such things can confirm the true and expose the false. A very impudent pretence of a great cure was made by one Charles Doe, at Colchester, in 1705-6, and published in pamphlets, with a list of numerous witnesses, which on being inquired into, was discovered to be an utter forgery. Those who instituted this inquiry did what every lover of truth should do, and rendered the public a real
A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine asserts the virtues of these rods, and gives figures of them, and directions for their use, Vol. XXI., p. 507. Soon after, another writergave a very striking instance of the reality of the power of such rods. He states, that Linnæus on a journey to Scania, hearing the virtues of the divining rod highly extolled, determined to try it.
He hid a purse of one hundred ducats under a ranunculus, which grew by itself in a meadow, and bade his secretary, the operator with the wand, find it, if he could. The ranunculus was speedily trodden down by the throng of people, and, for some time, the rod discovered nothing. Linnæus then attempted to find the purse, but could not, and persisted in seeking it in a particular quarter. The secretary having tried that quarter, declared that it was not there, and, eventually, following his rod, found the purse in a different direction. Linnæus adds, that another such an experiment would have made a proselyte of him.
APPARITION AND VOICE OF A LIVING PERSON. A correspondent of the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XXII., p. 173, states, that when he was a draper's apprentice, he used to dine at his father's on the opposite side of the street. Standing at the shop door on the 23rd of August, 1736, with his mistress, and the maid, and a Mr. Bloxam, afterwards a haberdasher of Cateaton Street, London, he heard his father's voice calling him. He replied, “Coming, sir," but continued to look at the book of
patterns which they were examining. A second time he heard his father call, and again answered, and the maid, who heard it too, answered,“ He is coming, Mr. W-" Still continuing to look at the pattern book, he saw his father come out of the door, with an angry look, call in an emphatic tone, and, going in, bang the door after him, with a loud sound. Both the mistress and maid told him to be gone at once.
On reaching the door, however, he found it locked, and, on going round to the back door, he found no sign of dinner, and his mother-in-law told him his father was not at home, and would not dine at home that day. His astonishment and horror were great, for he imagined it a sign of his father's death. This, however, was not the case, but his uncle, a gunner on board the ship Biddeford, then stationed at Leith, died that day, and about the same hour. Why the father, instead of the uncle's image, appeared is beyond the knowledge of such things yet possessed to explain; but the writer says that it made a serious and religious man of him for life.
A BOY WHO) PREACHED IN HIS FITS.
In the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XXX., p. 236, we have the following account:-A boy about 16 years of age, named Joseph Payne, went to live with a Captain Fisher, of Reading. He had been previously a servant to a farmer, at Lambourn Woodlands. This farmer was a Quaker, and not only gave him instructions in religion, but had him in at the family readings of the Scriptures, which are regular in the society. After being sometime at Captain Fisher's he fell down one day in a fit, greatly alarming the servants. Several
persons soon got about him, and were astonished at seeing him sit up, and with his eyes closed, begin a sermon which he continued in a regular and pertinent manner for half an hour. This being reported to his master, he ordered him to be narrowly watched to see if he were practising any imposture. In about a week he went into another fit, and preached another sermon. His eyes were, as before, closed and fixed in his head, and, as before, on coming out of the fit, he declared that he knew nothing either of what he had said or what had been done. On a third occasion a Dr. Hooper was present, and to test the insensibility of the lad, he held a lighted candle to his hand as he held it out in his discourse; it raised a blister but produced no sign of sensation whatever. The discourse which he gave on this occasion is printed at length in the Magazine. It is on the words,—“ They led Him away to erucify Him,” and extends to upwards of five columns of the Magazine. It is a much better sermon than you could have
heard in most country pulpits of that day. It is, however, something rambling, and evinces a memory stored with passages of Scripture, and with the reflections naturally deducible from them, rather than anything original and supernatural. The fact of a country lad, however, in a state of catalepsy, regularly pronouncing such discourses, shews a peculiar condition of mind in a state of catalepsy, which borders on the spiritual, and deserves the close attention and enquiry of those who are interested in advancing our psychological knowledge.
THE COCK LANE GHOST.
This story is told in Vol. XXXII., p. 43, and is set down as a piece of imposition in a man of the name of Parsons to obtain money from a Mr. Kent, who was supposed to have murdered a young woman in his keeping. There is no proof, however, that Parsons ever attempted any such extortion of money, and both he and his daughter, a child of twelve years old, who was the medium, stedfastly denied any imposition. Parsons was clerk of St. Sepulchre's Church, near Cock Lane. The knockings and scratchings which frightened the child were very much of the character of such manifestations now-a-days; and these going away on one occasion, and making themselves heard in a house several doors off, to the great alarm of the people there, is not accountable for by anything discovered. Great stress was laid on the ghost having said that it would make itself evident in the vault of St. Sepulchre, where the corpse of the lady in question lay; and that on several gentlemen going there at the time proposed nothing was heard. This, indeed, was not likely, for these wise men did not take the little girl with them, and not having the medium, they of course had no manifestation. On their return, they strictly questioned the girl, but could draw no confession from her ; in fact, the inquirers were totally ignorant of the conditions of such enquiries. Kent, however, the person accused by the ghost, as a matter of course, indicted Parsons, his wife, and one Mary Frazer, the Reverend Mr. Moore, and a Mr. James, for a conspiracy to defame him, and got Parsons set in the pillory, and himself, the wife, and Mary Frazer imprisoned for different terms, and Mr. Moore and Mr. James smartly fined. Parsons lost his post as clerk and went mad. Dr. Johnson being mixed up in the enquiry about the ghost, has given greater notoriety to the affair ; but a careful examination of this story by modern lights, and the rules of regular evidence, have only tended to prove that the manifestations of the ghost were genuine enough,