" After this, he grew very famous through the country for his charming and curing of diseases in men and beasts, and turned a vagrant fellow like a jockie,* gaining meal, and flesh, and money by his charms, such was the ignorance of many at that time. Whatever house he came to, none durst refuse Hatteraick an alms, rather for his ill than his good. One day he came to the yait [gate] of Samuelston when some friends after dinner were going to horse. A young gentleman, brother to the lady, seeing him, switcht him about the ears, saying, 1 You warlock carle, what have you to do here ?' Whereupon the fellow goes away grumbling, and was overheard to say, ' You shall dear buy this, ere it be long.' This was damnum mina-tum. The young gentleman conveyed his friends a far way off, and came home that way again, where he supped. After supper, taking his horse and crossing Tyne water to go home, he rides through a shady piece of a haugh, commonly called Allers, and the evening being somewhat dark, he met with some persons there that begat a dreadful consternation in him, which, for the most part, he would never reveal. This was malum secutum. When he came home, the servants observed terror and fear in his countenance. The next day he became distracted, and was bound for several days. His sister, the Lady Samuelston, hearing of it, was heard say, ' Surely that knave Hatteraick is the cause of his trouble; call for him in all haste.' When he had come to her, ' Sandie,' says she, ' what is this you have done to my brother William ?'—' I told him,' says he, ' I should make him repent of his striking me at the yait lately.' She, giving the rogue fair words, and promising him his pockful of meal, with beef and cheese, persuaded the fellow to cure him again. He undertook the business. ' But I must first,' says he, ' have one of his sarks' (shirts), which was soon gotten. What pranks he played with it cannot be known •, but within a short while the gentleman recovered his health. When Hatteraick came to receive his wages, he told the lady, 1 Your brother William shall quickly go off the country, but shall never return.' She, knowing the fellow's prophecies to hold true, caused the brother to make a disposition to her of all his patrimony, to the defrauding of his younger brother, George. After this warlock had abused the country for a long time, he was at last apprehended at Dunbar, and brought into Edinburgh, and burnt upon the Castlehill."*
* Or Scottish wandering beggar.
Now, if Hatteraick was really put to death on such evidence, it is worth while to consider what was its real amount. A hot-tempered swaggering young gentleman horsewhips a beggar of ill-fame for loitering about the gate of his sister's house. The beggar grumbles, as any man would. The young man, riding in the night, and probably in liquor, through a dark shady place, is frightened by he would not, and probably could not, tell what, and has a fever fit. His sister employs the wizard to take off the spell according to his profession; and here is damnum minatttm, et malum secutum, and all legal cause for burning a man to ashes ! The vagrant Hatteraick probably knew something of the wild young man which might soon oblige him to leave the country; and the selfish Lady Samuelston, learning the probability of his departure, committed a fraud which ought to have rendered her evidence inadmissible.
* Sinclair's Satan's Invisible World Discovered, p. 98.
Besides these particular disadvantages, to which the parties accused of this crime in Scotland were necessarily exposed, both in relation to the judicature by which they were tried, and the evidence upon which they were convicted, their situation was rendered intolerable by the detestation in which they were held by all ranks. The gentry hated them, because the diseases and death of their relations and children were often imputed to them ; the grossly superstitious vulgar abhorred them with still more perfect dread and loathing. And amongst those natural feelings, others of a less pardonable description found means to shelter themselves. In one case, we are informed by Mackenzie, a poor girl was to die for witchcraft, of whom the real crime was, that she had attracted too great a share, in the lady's opinion, of the attention of the laird !
Having thus given some reasons why the prosecutions for witchcraft in Scotland were so numerous and fatal, we return to the general history of the trials recorded from the reign of James V. to the Union of the kingdoms. Through the reign of Queen Mary these trials for sorcery became numerous, and the crime was subjected to heavier punishment by the 73d act of her 9th Parliament. But when James VL approached to years of discretion, the extreme anxiety which he displayed to penetrate more deeply into mysteries which others had regarded as a very millstone of obscurity, drew still larger attention to the subject. The sovereign had exhausted his talents of investigation on the subject of witchcraft, and credit was given to all who acted in defence of the opinions of the reigning prince. This natural tendency to comply with the opinions of the sovereign, was much augmented by the disposition of the Kirk to the same sentiments. We have already said that these venerable persons entertained, with good faith, the general erroneous belief respecting witchcraft,—regarding it indeed as a crime which affected their own order more nearly than others in the state, since, especially called to the service of Heaven, they were peculiarly bound to oppose the incursions of Satan. The works which remain behind them show, among better things, an unhesitating belief in what were called by them " special providences ;" and this was equalled, at least, by their credulity as to the actual interference of evil spirits in the affairs of this world. They applied these principles of belief to the meanest causes. A horse falling lame was a snare of the devil, to keep the good clergyman from preaching; the arrival of a skilful farrier was accounted a special providence, to defeat the purpose of Satan. This was, doubtless, in a general sense true, since nothing can happen without the foreknowledge and will of Heaven; but we are authorized to believe that the period of supernatural interference has long passed away, and that the great Creator is content to execute His purposes by the operation of those laws which influence the general course of nature. Our ancient Scottish divines thought otherwise. Surrounded, as they conceived themselves, by the snares and temptations of hell, and relying on the aid of Heaven, they entered into war with the kingdom of Satan, as the crusaders of old invaded the land of Palestine, with the same confidence in the justice of their cause, and similar indifference concerning the feelings of those whom they accounted the enemies of God and man. We have already seen that even the conviction that a woman was innocent of the crime of witchcraft, did not induce a worthy clergyman to use any effort to withdraw her from the stake; and in the same collection,* there occur some observable passages of God's providence to a godly minister, in giving him " full clearness " concerning Bessie Grahame, suspected of witchcraft. The whole detail is a curious illustration of the spirit of credulity which well-disposed men brought with them to such investigations, and how easily the gravest doubts were removed, rather than a witch should be left undetected.