In 1701 the celebrated inaugural Thesis of Thomasius, 'De Crimine Magise/ was publicly delivered, with the highest applause, in the University of Halle, a work which some fifty years before would assuredly have procured the author no other crown but that of martyrdom, but which was now received with general approbation, as embodying the views which the honest and intelligent had long entertained. Thomasius^s great storehouse of information and argument was the work of Bekker, who again had modelled his on the Treatise of Van Dale on Oracles ; and Thoma-sius, while he adopted his facts and arguments, steered clear of those Cartesian doctrines which had been the chief cause why the work of Bekker liad produced so little practical effect. Still, notwithstanding the good thus produced, the fire of persecution seems to have been smothered only, not extinguished. In 1728 it flamed up again at Szegeclin in Hungary, where thirteen persons were burnt alive on three scaffolds, for witchcraft, under circumstances of horror worthy of the wildest periods of this madness. And so late as 1749 comes the frightful story of Maria Renata, of Wurtzburg, the whole official details of which are published by -Horst, and which in its atrocity was worthy to conclude the long series of murders which had polluted the annals of Bamberg. This trial is remarkable from the feeling of disgust it seems to have excited in Germany, Italy, and France ; and the more so because, whatever may be thought of the reality of her pretensions, there seems to be no doubt from the evidence that Maria was by no means immaculate, hut was a dabbler in spells and potions, a venefica in the sense of the Theo-dosian code. But there is a time, as Solomon says, for everything under the sun; and the glories of the c Malleus Maleficarum' were departed. The consequence was, that taking this trial as their text-book, various foreigners, particularly Maflei, Tartarotti, and Del? Ossa, attacked the system so vigorously, that since that time the adherents of the old superstition seem to have abandoned the field in Germany.
* Beytrage zur Befordernng einer nahern Einsioht in das ge-saminte Geisterreich, vol, i. p. 281.
Matters had come to a close much sooner in Switzerland and France. In the Catholic canton of Glarus, it is said, a witch was burnt even so late as 1786; but in the Protestant cantons no trials seem to have taken place for two centuries past. The last execution in Geneva was that of Michel Chauderon, in 1652. Sebastian Michaelis indeed would have us to believe, that at one time the tribunal at Geneva put no criminals accused of witchcraft to death, unless on proof of their having done actual injury to men or animals, and that the other phenomena of confessions, etc., were regarded as mere mental delusions. If such however was oriffmallv the case, this humane rule was unfortunately soon abandoned; for nowhere did the mania of persecution at one time rage more than hi Geneva, as is evident from Delrio's preface. It seems fairly entitled however to the credit of having been the first state in Europe which emancipated itself from the influence of this bloody superstition.