The Naked Quaker
In colonial times, going to court was very common, over large and small issues. Courts and judges played a central role in everyday life of the colonists. In fact the colonel judges tried to enforce strict moral standards, punishing conduct that would never be prosecuted today. In New England, court day was considered a very big event. In The Naked Quaker, there are twenty- five true colonial courtroom events of significant men and women. This book reflects the idea that no matter how much time passes, human nature changes very little.
The beginning of the book revolves around witchcraft. Many colonists of New England strongly believed in witchcraft and the devil’s work. They believed that the devil recruited ordinary people as witches and that no one was safe from their evil deeds. There are three courtroom tales that focus on witchcraft. The first tale is about Mrs. Goodman who was an outspoken opinionated woman who was accused of being a witch. After offending may people, everyone was against her, she had no way of winning once she went on trial. She never managed to clear her name, but she escaped the gallows. The judges decided that the evidence against her was not sufficient enough to end her life. The second tale is when magistrate, Thomas Danforth and other families accused Widow Holman and her daughter, Mary of witchcraft. The judges could not find any proof that they were witches, therefore, the results of the trial was as close to vindication as window Holman would ever get. The Holman women were never accused of witchcraft again. The final tale that involved witchcraft was about Mary Rosse would convince Jonathan Dunham to terrorize a local family in a brutal home invasion. Jonathan admitted to doing whatever Mary told him to do. Many people believed that Mary Rosse had enthusiastic powers.
The accusation of witchcraft might not relate to today, but the book illustrates that some of the behavior that the colonists took...