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to be imprisoned as witches without the government
having first been informed of the nature of the accusa-
tion.' No more arrests of witches occurred till 1602,
but in 1611 ' seventeen were brought before the court.' '-'

' E. lluffsclimid, 'Zur Kriminalstatistik dcs Odenwaldes ira 16^"" und
17"" Jahrli.' in the Zeitschr. filr deutsche KuUurgesch (Jahrg. 1859), pp.
425-432.

- Diofenbach, 104. ■* Weller, AnnaUn, ii. 446, No. 658.

■* Idtterae annuae S. J. ad annum, 1612 (Duaci, IG18), p. 348.

■' Diefenbach, 107.
VOL. XVI. FF



434 HISTORY OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE

From Stofkuni, in 1587, two women suspected of witch-
craft wore brought to Mayence ; the one endured the
agonies of torture and was sewni up in a sack, the other
confessed to every charge and was packed ahve in a
barrel, and then botli of them were burnt. In Florsheim
and Hochheim also, later on, the authorities proceeded
to eradicate sorcery ; Hochheim for this purpose
collected, in 1618, 2000 gulden from the convent of
St. Clara in Mayence. ^

At Oberursel in the Taunus on February 9, 16, and
17, 1613, several witches were sent to the stake.^

In the archdiocese of Treves a diocesan synod of
1548 decreed that ' the officials should institute careful
investigation into the proceedings of those soothsayers
and sorcerers who renounced the worship of the true
God and gave themselves up to the hallucinations
of the lying spirit of hell ' ; those who were guilty in
this way, and who after due admonition did not change
their minds, were to be put under the ban of the Church
and to be kept in prison until ' they had been deUvered
from the influence and delusions of their instructor the
devil.' 3

' Schiller, Gesch. der Stack Hochheim am Main (Hochheim, 1887), p. 135.

^ Diefenbach, 111. From SpireS; Harster {Das Strafrecht der freien
Reichsladt Speier, p, 74) knows only of a single case of witch-burning of the
year 1581, whUe otherwise the town council never showed itself specially
enamoured of superstitious ideas. ' It was reserved to the Reformation
period,' says Harster, p. 247, ' to produce the first and to my know-
ledge the only scene of witch-burning that the ancient imperial city ever
witnessed.'

' Coleti, ix. col. 1349''-1350''. Hartzheim, vi. 409. A provincial synod
at Mayence decreed in 1549 that ' clergy who were guilty of this damnable
intercourse with evil spirits were to be deposed, and if they did not repent
and reform were to be kept in close imprisonment or else expelled {prorsus
abiiciantur) ; laymen, if they remained obdurate, were to be punished
with confiscation of goods, or perpetual imprisonment, or even in some



WITCH-PERSECUTION IN CATHOLIC DISTRICTS 435

Down to the last third of the sixteentli century
no witch-trials took place in the archdiocese. The
first of which a detailed account has come down to us
w^as enacted in 1572 at Kenn und Fell and was con-
ducted by the baihff of the imperial convent of St.
Maximin near Treves. Three women were burnt to
death. ^

In the middle of the eighties so desperate a witch-
hmit was organised that in two districts, so says
report, only two women were left ahve.-

severer manner.' Cole ti, ix. 1437''. Hartzheim, vi. 592. The Cologne pro-
vincial council of 1536 ordained that no one was to be subjected to trial
at law unless under a charge of ' legitima ac frequens infamia,' which
charge proceeded, not from malicious accusers, but from just-minded ones ;
the accusers must furnish the proofs of their charges, or else they them-
selves must be punished. Coleti, ix. col. 1231^

' Hennen, Ein Hexenprozess aus der Umgegend von Trier, aus dem
Jahr. 1572. St. Wendel, 1887.

^ Hennen, 3^. ** Concerning the Treves witch-trials, cf. also Duhr,
Die Stellung der Jesuiien, pp. 29-35, especially with regard to the attitude of
the Treves Jesuits to the question. These Jesuits had for a time in their
college a boy who, according to his own statement, had formerly served
the sorcerers and witches as piper, and who now denounced many of them ;
by order of the General Aquaviva (October 1, 1587) he was no longer
allowed to remain in the college (p. 32) ; p. 32 ff. : ' Other Jesuits also
must have complained to the General concerning their associates at Treves,
for on May 16, 1589, Aquaviva wrote as follows to the Pro\incial of the
Rhine Province, Fr. Jakob Ernfelder : "We have heard that in the College
of Treves, our Fathers appear to mix themselves up too much in the trials
of witches and urge the princes to have them punished. This behaviour
your Reverence must forbid and at the same time direct the Fathers as
follows : ' It is permitted to give the princes general advice, to employ
salutary measures against sorcery, wliich appears to be so universal in
that neighbourhood, and in given cases to admonish the witches that they
are in conscience bound, when questioned in court, to denounce their
accomplices. For the rest they must not interfere in the forum externum ;
further they must not urge or insist that any of the witches should be
punished. Finally witches must not be exorcised with a view to pre-
venting them from recanting their confessions already made, for this is not
our business.' " The Provincial answered that before receiving this letter

F 72



VM) HISTORY OF Tin-: (;i:rmax people

This porsocutioii lasted many years, and here, as in
the Bavarian lordsliip of Sehongan, it was chiefly the
result of desperation caused by serious cattle diseases,
failure of crops, and other calamities which had gone
on for several years, wars, plundering and devastation,
which the Dutch and Spaniards carried on to such
an extent that the people were altogether hopeless.
' Whereas among the people,' wrote an eye-witness,
John Linden, canon of St. Simeon of Treves, ' it was
beheved that all these unfruitful years have been
caused by the devihsh wickedness of witches and
sorcerers, the whole archdiocese rose up to root out
the witches. This rising was encouraged by numbers
of officials who looked to gaining money and wealth
by means of the persecutions. Throughout the whole
archdiocese, in towns and villages, accusers flocked to
the courts, to the inquisitors, to the magistrates,
judges, and executioners, and people of both sexes
and in great multitudes were brought to trial and
delivered over to death by fire. For who can escape
who has once been accused? Magisterial persons also,
in the town of Treves, were not spared. The mayor
of the to^vn himself with two burgomasters and a few
to^^^l coimcillors and justices were burnt to ashes ;
canons of several chapters, parish priests and rural deans
shared the same fate. At length the fury of the populace
and the frenzy of the judges rose to such a pitch that
there was not a creature left untouched by suspicion

he had already addressed a corresponding admonition to the Treves Fathers.'
P. 33 : ' At any rat« it is clear from the letter of the Provincial that the
Treves Fathers were divided in opinion on the question of witchcraft.
The Jesuits of the Treves College, under the influence of the auxiliary
bishop, their friend Binsfeld, were carried away in the same current — at
least the majority of them, so it seems — whereas the Jesuits of the Coblence
and Mayence College maintained a different attitude.'



WITCH-PERSECUTION IN CATHOLIC DISTRICTS 437

of crime. Meanwhile the notaries, the actuaries and
the innkeepers reaped a golden harvest ; the hangman
rode like a haughty lord on a proud palfrey, clad in
gold and silver, and his wife vied with noble ladies in
splendour of apparel. The children of the executed
victims stole away in poverty ; their goods were alienated.
Farm labourers and vine-dressers were now lacking ;
hence imfruitfulness in the land. Never, so it is thought,
had a pestilence raged so furiously in the archdiocese,
or an enemy devastated more ruthlessly than this
wholesale hunting do^vn and persecution of witchcraft
and sorcery. And yet there was plenty of proof to
show that not all these people were guilty. The perse-
cution lasted for many years, and some of the judges
actually boasted of the number of folk they had sent
to the stake and dehvered to the flames. Finally,
when in spite of the continuous burning the evil could
not be overcome, definite laws were passed and enforced
against the inquisitions and inquisitors and their greed
of gain and their perquisites, and suddenly, as in war
when the money is used up, the violence of the witch-
judges ceased." ^

The hst of a justice of the high court shows that
from January 18, 1587, to November 18, 1593, in
twenty-seven parishes in the neighbourhood of Treves,
306 persons of both sexes were put to death for sorcery,
excluding those who were burnt in the town itself
and its suburbs." On the ground of mere utterances

' Gesta Trevirorum, iii. 53-54.

- Miiller, Kleiner Beilrarj, vii. Marx, ii. 111. ** The number given by
Miiller is incorrect, as Burr (21, note) shows. In liis Enchiridion compris-
ing the period from 1581 to 1588, Franciscus Madius says respecting a
journey to the Abbey St. Maximin near Treves : ' This whole district, in-
cluding tlie town of Treves itself, is notorious foi- sorcery. At one {)]ace I



438 iiisrom' of tuk (;i-:hmax I'koi'Li-:

of accused people about other witches or sorcerers,
not only were several hundreds of wicked women brought
to justice and to severe punishment, but also numbers
of monks, deans, parish priests, and curates. ^ Even
dead sorcerers — according to such * statements ' — after
they had been a long time in the grave, appeared again
at the witch-dances. Thus the parish priest, John

visited, the stakes showed that at least 100 men and women had recently
been burnt aUve for this crime ; in this same town, whilst I was there, a
very wealthy doctor of distinguislied name, who had often acted as repre-
sentative of the Bishop in the town, was imprisoned on a charge of sorcery.'
Seibt, ii. 51. Duhr, Die Stellung der Jesuiten, p. 35 : ' In 159G the annual
letters of the Jesuits tell of a place outside the town which was completely
deserted because most of the inhabitants had been burnt to death' (Ileiffen-
berg, i. 350). One man accused of sorcery first raised a series of charges
against the Jesuits, and then denounced nearly all the judges as witches.
This caused a huge outcry ; each one asserted his own innocence. The
public prosecutor had fresh judges secretly appointed in place of the sus-
pected ones. The former judges now saw that they were in great danger
and moved heaven and earth to establish their innocence. They succeeded
in proving that the charges fabricated against the Jesuits were lies, and
thus the ground was taken away from the other accusations. By persuasion
of some of the Jesuits the calumniator confessed that the other charges
were false. The judges, however, were so envenomed that in spite of the
intercession of the Jesuits they condemned the man to the stake [I.e. i. 349).
In the Zeitschr. fiir deutsche Kulturgesch. ii. ' Ergiinzungshef t ' (Weimar,
1898). Reiehel (p. 4 flF.). gives the minutes of some witch-trials which took
place in 1589 and 1593.

' IMiillerj Kleiner Beitrag, 8-10. Relative to this Hennen WTites, p. 11 :
' Let no one say that the clergy of the place might have intervened and
saved the reputation of the women victims. Woe unto him who should
attempt such a thing : no more convincing proof could he give of liis own
partnership in the guilt ! How' many worthy priests fell victims in this
way to a frenzy which no language is strong enough to stigmatise as it
deserved ! ' Nuns also were brought to trial at Treves. In 1610 seven
nuns from a Flemish convent were condemned and hanged. Messager des
sciences historiques (Gand, 1869), p. 347. (** According to Duhr. Die
Stellung der Jesuiten, p. 95, the ' Father Pauli, rector of the Jesuits in Treves,
who according to Miiller, I.e., was, with a few other Jesuits from Treves and
C!ologne, accused as a sorcerer, is a myth. There never was a rector of this
name at Treves.')



WITCH-PERSECUTION IN CATHOLIC DISTRICTS 439

Kau, so says a report of 1590. ' appeared after his death
in a flame with a fiery tongue ; he stood tliere and said
nothing ; many of them came back in this way.' * A
whole company of Treves sorcerers have their own
special dances, special tables for meals, and special
monks and priests.' ' The superior at Wiltingen,' near
Treves, at a gathering of w^itches, ' sat on a golden seat ' ;
another one also * sat on a golden seat.' ^ The ' honour-
able and astute judges' were not in a position to calculate
the number of witches from the ' statements,' for in
no less than nineteen places, as they heard, nocturnal
witch-gatherings were held.^

What verily unheard-of and extraordinary things
about the devil were learnt from the statements of the
accused may be seen from the accounts of two witch-
trials. In the first it says : ' Dehnquent stuck to it
that at the witch-banquet and dance of June 24, 1587,
two devils appeared, the one in a green, the other in a
blue coat, spruce young gentlemen, but with goat's
feet and claws ; they were evidently drunk at the very
beginning of the meal.' These two devils had engaged in
a serious dispute as to whether Rhine wine or Moselle
was the best ; the witches had also been divided in
opinion on the matter, and so parties had formed and
a fearful amount of hubbub and fighting ensued, till
one of the devils, Rufian by name, mercilessly cudgelled
one of the witches to death with a cat's tail, on which up
to that moment the fiddler had played the dance music :
' and no doubt it still lies there on the place of combat
unless some one has carried it of^.'

' Protokollbuch of Klaitdius von Musicl (in tlic Tjcvos town library),
290, 292, 301, 320. Cf. Miiller, Kleiner Beiirag, 18, ** and Burr, 12.
- Mullcr, 13-14.



440 HISTORY OF THK CKIOIAX PEOPLE

Finally, INIoselle triumphed over Rhine wine, for
the champion of the first ' remained at the dance,
while the other flew away through the air with loud
howling and leaving a horrible stench behind/ 1 Another
time the de\il who was present set himself against
the proposal of the witches and sorcerers to destroy all
the vines at the season of budding, and he also gave
the reason for his opposition. Stephen Michels from
Krames had said in 1587 that on the last Corpus Christi
feast he had been at night on the Hetzerather heath,
and that there were a great number of people there
and that they had eaten and drunk, but that the wine
was of no use. And he said that some people had come
there in carriages, but that they had kept to themselves ;
and now some who were there would wilHngly have
spoilt the wine but the Evil One refused his consent,
for he preferred that ' the men should fill their paunches
with wine and then thrash their wives.' -

Often enough it was brought home to the judges
how httle truth there was in their statements about
these witch-gatherings. When Doctor Dietrich Flade,
councillor and town magistrate at Treves in 1585 and
rector of the Treves University, after having condemned
many people to death as sorcerers, was at last in 1589
himself accused of sorcery and of taking part in the
witch-dancing, and was brought to trial, he said in
his answer, ' That I have been present personally or
have ever been seen among such godless company, I
cannot by God confess.' ' True it is that I have of late

' Minutes of the trial of Anna Fiedlerin, who ivas burnt to death on
September 29, 1587 ; in the library of the parish priest Miinzenberger.. in
Frankfort-on-the-Maine. ** It is now in the possession of the Jesuits at
Exaeten.

2 Marx, ii. 138.



WITCH-PERSECUTION IN CATHOLIC DISTRICTS 441

gone through much sorrow owing to the deaths of my
dear wife, brother, son-in-law, sisters, son, cousin and
good friend, but that I have ever formed a compact with
the wicked one or joined with such godless company to
damage corn, wine, fruits and so forth, I declare by my
God to be untrue. Whether, however, under such trials
I gave the wicked one occasion, or whether he took it,
to transfigure himself into my person, is, I declare by
God, quite unknown to me. I am now troubled with
all sorts of dreams as though I were at imperial deputy
diets, at church fairs, at social gatherings ; but that
consciously or corporeally I have been present at such
assembhes, I cannot in truth admit.' ^

1 Marx, ii. 106-107, 136-139. For Flade's trial and execution see
Binz, Joh. Weyer, 106-110 (2nd ed. 113-117). The Treves justice of
the high-courts, Nicholas Fiedler, who was imprisoned for witchcraft in
1591, was put on the rack seven times over until he ceased recanting his
statements. J. H. Wyttenbach, Trierische Chronik, 1825, vol. x. 107 ff.
** The original minutes of the trials instituted against Flade, which were
supposed to be lost, were discovered in 1882 by Dr. Andrew D. White
and George L. Burr in the catalogue of the Berlin antiquary Albert Cohn.
Burr intends publishing this important document as an appendix to the
second part of the catalogue of the White library now in the possession of
the Cornell university ; preliminarily ho has published an account of the
life and fate of Flade, according to the new acts, in a little pamphlet already
cited at p. 437, n. 2. From the minutes of the examination under torture
it is seen that Flade sincerely believed in the reality of sorcery and witch-
craft (Burr, 38-39). Deeply interesting are the remarks of the American
researcher (p. 52 f?.) on the attitude of the Jesuits to this trial for witch-
craft. ' The most important among the historians of witchcraft (Soldan-
Heppe, ii. 33-37) accuses the Order of using witch-persecution as a cloak
for the persecution of heretics and endeavouring to get those people burnt
as witches who, according to the imperial law, could not be burnt for heresy,
and he grounds this accusation to a great extent on the history of the Treves
persecution. After exhaustive study of the documents 1 have as yet found
no reason for adopting this opinion.' E. P. Evans, ' Ein Triercr Hexenpro-
zess' {5ei7. zur Allgem. Zeitung, 1892, No. 102), agrees with Burr, and says:
' Most of the victims of the witch-craze were people of whoso Catholicity
no one could have any doubt, and whom, as is em])ha(i(a]ly static! in a



■ {{'2 HISTORY OKTHI-: CKiniAN PKOPLIO

In order not to come under suspicion of witchcraft,
peo]ile would neglect approaching the Sacraments ; for
witches, it was said, often go to Holy Comnmnion in
order to disgrace the body of the Lord. * The people
are rejoicing,' the Jesuits reported from Treves in
1601, after the general witch-persecution was at an end,
* that they can now undisturbed draw near to the table

pamphlet published by the Jesuits in 1588, the wily Satan misled into sor-
cery because ho was not able to make them abjure the faith.' In 1591
again, Zandt drew the attention of the law officials to the melancholy fact
that ' the sin of sorcery had become so widespread that soon persons who
had been most reputed for piety would be tainted with it.' Excessive
piety, indeed, excited suspicion and easily led to accusations being lodged
with the bench of judges. Flade, at any rate, remained a strict Catholic
till his death, and never came under the slightest suspicion of heresy. That
jealousj', envy and cupidity played a large part in liis persecution and
condemnation is highly probable. He was known to be a rich man (homo
copiosus) and had the bad reputation of being a miser. We know that out
of his considerable fortune a sum of 4000 gold gulden, placed at the dis-
posal of the town of Treves, was, by order of the Elector, used for the
maintenance of the parish churches, and that the ' Flade-foundation '
formed for this purpose is still in existence. We know further that the
municipal authorities did not lose sight of the rest of his possessions, but
that in 1590, immediately after his death, they had a general inventory
made of them. That they did not neglect to execute fiscal justice and to
put the treasure obtained into the state coffer or the coflfer of the territorial
prince (between the two treasure-coffers there was no exact distinction at
that time) appears to be beyond doubt. Also among the mayors and
justices, and even the executioners, at least if we can credit the testimony
of contemporaries, there were many who profited by this favoui'able oppor-
tunity for acquiring a smaU ' Pactolus ' for themselves. Buit, 56-57.
Riezlcr (p. 243) says : ' The reason of Flade's fate was that he espoused
the cause of the witches and tried to put a stop to their being persecuted.'
' Neither in the article on Flade in the Allgem. Deutsche Biographie,^ he adds
in the note, 'nor in Janssen-Pastor, viii. 639 (earlier [German] edition), is
there any mention of this, but according to the evidence of their kindred
spirit Binsfeld, of the Jesuits Delrio and Laymann [or rather of the Pro-
cessus iuridicus contra sagas, which Riezler believes to have been written by
Laymann], the matter must be regarded as probable.'' ' The minutes of
Flade's trial discovered in 1882 by the American, George L. Burr, certainly
contain nothing which justifies the assumption that Flade doubted the



WITCH-PERSECUTION IN CATHOLIC DISTRICTS 443

of the Lord as often as tliey wish.' ^ ' In many places/
said a tract of 1603, ' things have come to such a pass
that God-fearing Christians avoid divine service, hide
their heads and guard against all show of devotion, so
as not to appear more pious and devout than their
neighbours, because otherwise they might easily fall
imder the charge of sorcery.' ' For the devil,' says the
ignorant populace, ' incites his servants and agents
to feign piety, to receive the Sacrament, to hide it
in their bosoms and then disgracefully dishonour
it ; to go to church, but at the Mass and during the
sermon to repeat to themselves : " Priest, you lie ;
all that you do and say is a he ; there is no God
but my god the devil." And in many places pious
priests must take good care not to offer the Holy
Sacrifice every day, or if they do, to do it in secret,
because otherwise they may very easily come under
suspicion of sorcery. It is a craze beyond all crazes and

reality of witchcraft, and rather imply that the infirm old man did not die
as a martyr to a principle. But Flade nevertheless appears tlirough his
judicial activity to have arrived at the conviction that the extorted denun-
ciations of the witches could not be relied on, and to have combated witch-
trials from this standpoint.' Concerning the reproach that the Jesuits
used witch-trials as a means of furthering the so-called counter-reformation,
see also Duhr, Die Stellung der Jesuiten, p. 74 flf . ' If this were true the
Jesuits must have mutually hindered each other, and the generals especi-
ally at different times would have caused serious liindrances. Moreover,
the Jesuits would certainly not have foregone a very effectual means for
multiplying witch-trials, viz. the Witches' Hammer, and yet neither in the
great printing-houses of the Jesuits, nor at their great publishers' did a
single edition of the Malleus appear.' Further, they would have intro-
duced the subject into tlieir catechisms ; this was done indeed by Luther,
but not by Canisius. ' Finally, the Jesuits would have had to start witch-
trials at a much earhcr date. But in the districts where the Jesuits had
any influence the great witch-trials did not bogin till the restoration of the
Catholic religion was almost or altogether an accomplislied fact, as for
instance in the Treves district.'

' Litlerae annuae, IGOl (Antverpiae, 1G18), p. 575.



.{{{: HIST(^RV OF TITK CKRMAN PEOPLK

there is nothing so universal and so harmful as this
superstition, this fear, this horror of witches. And it
is also wonderful to see with what courage, God-fearing,
merciful priests — above all the Fathers of the Society of
Jesus — associate in the prisons with these imlioly spirits,
administering consolation to them, praying with them,
and even leading them themselves to the stake ; indeed
I have heard them with my own ears, in Treves and
elsewhere, speaking w^ords of comfort to these people in
the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour/ ^

Thus, for instance, the Jesuit, Lucas Ellentz,
cathedral preacher at Treves, went into tjie filthiest
prisons and watched whole nights by the imprisoned
witches ; shortly before his death in 1607 he told the
Provincial, in answer to the latter's inquiries, that he

^ Prophezeiung aus den greivlichen Hexenbrdnden. Pamphlet of 1603,



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