With the Restoration of King Charles II witchcraft did not cease ; on the other hand it went on with unimpaired vigour, and several important cases were brought to trial in England. In one instance, at least, it made its appearance in Ireland, this time far south, at Youghal. The extraordinary tale of Florence Newton and her doings, which is related below, forms the seventh Relation in Glanvill's Saddu-cismus Triumphatus (London, 1726) ; it may also be found, together with some English cases of notoriety, in Francis Bragge's Witchcraft further displayed (London, 1712). It is from the first of these sources that we have taken it, and reproduce it here verbatim, except that some redundant matter has been omitted, i.e. where one witness relates facts (!) which have already been brought forward as evidence in the examination of a previous witness, and which therefore do not add to our knowledge, though no doubt they materially contributed to strengthen the case against the unfortunate old woman. Hayman in his Guide to Youghal attributes the whole affair to the credulity of the Puritan settlers, who were firm believers in such things. In this he is correct no doubt, but it should be borne in mind by the reader that such a belief was not confined to the new-comers at Youghal, but was common property throughout England and Ireland.
The tale shows that there was a little covey of suspected witches in Youghal at that date, as well as some skilful amateur witch-finders (Messrs. Perry, Greatrakes, and Blackwall). From the readiness with which the Mayor proposed to try the " water-experiment" one is led to suspect that such a process as swimming a witch was not altogether unknown in Youghal. For the benefit of the uninitiated we may briefly describe the actual process, which, as we shall see, the Mayor contemplated, but did not actually carry out. The suspected witch is taken, her right thumb tied to her left great toe, and vice versa. She is then thrown into the water : if she sinks (and drowns, by any chance !) her innocence is conclusively established ; if, on the other hand, she floats, her witchcraft is proven, for water, as being the element in Baptism, refuses to receive such a sinner in its bosom.
" Florence Newton was committed to Youghal prison by the Mayor of the town, 24th March 1661, for bewitching Mary Longdon, who gave evidence against her at the Cork Assizes (11th September), as follows :
" Mary Longdon being sworn, and bidden to look upon the prisoner, her countenance chang'd pale, and she was very fearful to look towards her, but at last she did, and being asked whether she knew her, she said she did, and wish'd she never had. Being asked how long she had known her, she said for three or four years. And that at Christmas the said Florence came to the Deponent, at the house of John Pyne in Youghal, where the Deponent was a servant, and asked her to give her a piece of Beef out of the Powdering Tub ; and the Defendant answering her that she would not give away her Master's Beef, the said Florence seemed to be very angry, and said, Thou had'st as good give it me, and went away grumbling.
" That about a week after the Defendant going to the water with a Pail of Cloth on her head she met the said Florence Newton, who came full in her Face, and threw the Pail off her head, and violently kiss'd her, and said, Mary, I pray thee let thee and I be Friends; for I bear thee no ill will, and 1 pray thee do thou bear me none. And that she the Defendant afterwards went home, and that within a few Days after she saw a Woman with a Vail over her Face stand by her bedside, and one standing by her like a little old Man in Silk Cloaths, and that this Man whom she took to be a Spirit drew the Vail off the Woman's Face, and then she knew it to be Goody Newton : and that the Spirit spoke to the Defendant and would have her promise him to follow his advice and she would have all things after her own Heart, to which she says she answered that she would have nothing to say to him, for her trust was in the Lord.
" That within a month after the said Florence had kiss'd her, she this Defendant fell very ill of Fits or Trances, which would take her on a sudden, in that violence that three or four men could not hold her ; and in her Fits she would be taken with Vomiting, and would vomit up Needles, Pins, Horsenails, Stubbs, Wooll, and Straw, and that very often. And being asked whether she perceived at these times what she vomited ? She replied, she did ; for then she was not in so great distraction as in other parts of her Fits she was. And that before the first beginning of her Fits several (and very many) small stones would fall upon her as she went up and down, and would follow her from place to place, and from one Room to another, and would hit her on the head, shoulders, and arms, and fall to the ground and vanish away. And that she and several others would see them both fall upon her and on the ground, but could never take them, save only some few which she and her Master caught in their hands. Amongst which one that had a hole in it she tied (as she was advised) with a leather thong to her Purse, but it was vanish'd immediately, though the latter continu'd tied in a fast knot.
" That in her Fits she often saw Florence Newton, and cried out against her for tormenting of her, for she says, that she would several times Stick Pins into her Arms, and some of them so fast, that a Man must pluck three or four times to get out the Pins, and they were stuck between the skin and the flesh. That sometimes she would be remov'd out of the bed into another Room, sometimes she would be carried to the top of the House, and laid on a board between two Sollar Beams, sometimes put into a Chest, sometimes under a parcel of Wooll, sometimes between two Feather-Beds on which she used to lie, and sometimes between the Bed and the Mat in her Master's Chamber, in the Daytime. And being asked how she knew that she was thus carried about and disposed of, seeing in her Fits she was in a violent distraction ? She answered, she never knew where she was, till they of the Family and the Neighbours with them, would be taking her out of the places whither she was so carried and removed. And being asked the reason and wherefore she cried out so much against the said Florence Newton in her Fits ? She answered, because she saw her, and felt her torturing her.