The witchcraft nonsense was finally effectively put to rest in 1718 with the publication of this book: An Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft, by Francis Hutchinson. Hutchinson, an Anglican cleric, did a detailed study of many witch trials, including Salem. He interviewed survivors and witnesses, examined motives of the participants, gave examples of fraud and use of testimony by children, and showed how events could be explained rationally without resorting to witchcraft as the cause. Pirages notes that this is an exceptional copy of the book, “the text as fresh, bright, and clean as the day the book was issued,” and the best copy of a book from this era they have seen in 35 years of bookselling. Item 443. $2,500.
William Prynne was not exactly a fun-loving man. His extreme religious fundamentalism got him into trouble on occasion. However, in his defense, it can be said he was true to his beliefs, to such intensity that once his punishment was completed, he had no qualms picking up where he left off, no matter the risk. Prynne wrote an attack on women actors, published at the time Queen Henrietta Maria (wife of Charles I) was putting on such a show. That was terrible timing. He was convicted of sedition, fined, sentenced to life in prison (he was let out after a few years) and had his ears removed. Why the latter is not clear to this writer. The tongue would have been more appropriate. He would get in trouble again a few years later, again be sentenced to life (a few more years) and have his cheek branded to mark him as a seditious liar. Amazingly enough, he would survive to live a full life and obtain some government positions years later during the Restoration. Item 518 did not get Prynne into trouble, but it does reveal his personality: The Unlovelinesse, of Love-Lockes, Or, a Summarie Discourse, Proving: the Wearing and Nourishing of a Locke, or Love-Locke, to be Altogether Unseemly, and Unlawfull unto Christians, published in 1628. As Pirages notes, it offers “a very great deal of advice, mostly unsolicited and unwelcomed, for the fair sex.” The diatribe is particularly focused on women's hair fashions, attacking “the wearing of supposititious, poudred, frizled, or extraordinary long haire; the inordinate affection of corporall beautie; and womens mannish, unaturall, impudent and unchristian cutting of their haire.” $1,600.