John Gaule

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Gaule (1603? – 1687)[1] was an English Puritan cleric, now remembered for his partially sceptical views on astrology, witchcraft and hermetic philosophy.

Life[edit]

He studied at both Oxford and Cambridge, graduating B.A. at Magdalene College, Cambridge in 1623/4.[2] For a time he appears to have been employed by Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsey, probably as chaplain. By 1629 he was chaplain to Baptist Hicks, 1st Viscount Campden.[3]

Gaule's one preferment was as vicar of Great Staughton, Huntingdonshire, through Viscountess Campden by 1632, though there is some confusion on the point.[1][4] He claimed in a petition to Parliament that he had been imprisoned by the Parliamentary army, and had been in danger of being shot by order of Edward Whalley.[5]

Select Cases of Conscience touching Witches and Witchcraft[edit]

Gaule clashed with, and preached against, the self-appointed witch-hunter active in East Anglia, Matthew Hopkins. This took place around 1646, when Hopkins and John Stearne were operating in Huntingdonshire.[6] As a result, and to expose the methods used by Hopkins, he wrote Select Cases of Conscience touching Witches and Witchcraft, London, 1646.[7] The work was dedicated to the Huntingdonshire Member of Parliament, Valentine Wauton.[4]

Gaule himself followed the position of William Perkins on witchcraft.[8] He objected to the "swimming test" for witches, used by Hopkins and Stearne in the first half of 1645.[9] Unusually for the time, Gaule engaged with the question of the imp or familiar spirit thought to accompany a witch. While he was convinced enough that witchcraft existed, he suspected theories about it that connected with popular superstition rather than scriptural sources.[10] He distinguished between the workings of a magician and the spells of a witch, leaving some room for the former to operate in good conscience.[11]

Gaule took a legalistic and evidentiary approach to witchcraft. He argued for stringent standards of evidence, but also that circumstantial evidence should be admitted because of the difficulty of conviction.[12] His works were consulted at the time of the Salem witch trials for criteria to apply to cases.[13] Cotton Mather in his Wonders of the Invisible World gave an account of Gaule's witch-theories and their discriminations;[14] George Lincoln Burr regarded the account as distorted, however.[15]

Other works[edit]

Other writings by Gaule were:[3]

  • The Practiqve Theorists Panegyrick. … A Sermon preached at Pauls-Crosse, London, 1628.
  • Distractions, or the Holy Madnesse. Feruently (not Furiously) inraged against Euill Men, or against their Euills, London, 1629.
  • Practiqve Theories, or Votiue Speculations, vpon Iesvs Christs Prediction, Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, London, 1629. Frontispiece was by Christof le Blon.[16]
  • Practiqve Theories, or Votiue Speculations vpon Abrahams Entertainment of the three Angels, &c., 3 parts, London, 1630.
  • A Defiance to Death. Being the Funebrious Commemoration of … Viscount Camden, London, 1630.
  • A Sermon of the Saints judging the World. Preached at the Assizes holden in Huntingdon, London, 1649.
  • Πῦς-μαντία. The Mag-Astro-Mancer, or the Magicall-Astrologicall-Diviner posed and puzzled, London, 1652. Another edition under the title of A Collection out of the best approved Authors, containing Histories of Visions, &c., was published without Gaule's name in 1657. This general attack on magic was dedicated to Oliver Cromwell.[17] In it Gaule lamented that people generally were more ready to consult an almanac than the Bible.[18]

With Henry Jeanes, Nathaniel Stephens and Anthony Burgess, he took part in the presbyterian attack on Jeremy Taylor's doctrine of original sin. His views appeared in a rare work, Sapientia Justificata (1657).[19][20][21][22] He also criticised Erasmus on the same topic, from the Calvinist angle.[23]

At the time of the Restoration, Gaule wrote a tract, An Admonition moving to Moderation, holding forth certain brief heads of wholesom advice to the late and yet immoderate Party, London, 1660, to which he prefixed a dedication to Charles II.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Clark, Stuart. "Gaule, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/10458. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ "Gaule, John (GL623J2)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ a b c  "Gaule, John" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  4. ^ a b Oxford Journals (Firm) (1866). Notes and Queries. Oxford University Press. p. 65. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  5. ^ Mary Anne Everett Green, ed. (1860). Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Charles II 1660–1661. H.M. Stationery Office. pp. 345–6.
  6. ^ Wallace Notestein (1 August 2003). History of Witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 186–7. ISBN 978-0-7661-7918-9. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  7. ^ Gaule, John. "Select Cases of Conscience Touching Witches and Witchcraft".
  8. ^ William E. Burns (2003). Witch Hunts in Europe and America: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-313-32142-9. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  9. ^ Orna Alyagon Darr (1 August 2011). Marks of an Absolute Witch: Evidentiary Dilemmas in Early Modern England. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-7546-6987-6. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  10. ^ Orna Alyagon Darr (1 August 2011). Marks of an Absolute Witch: Evidentiary Dilemmas in Early Modern England. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-7546-6987-6. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  11. ^ Ryan J. Stark (15 April 2009). Rhetoric, Science, & Magic in Seventeenth-Century England. CUA Press. pp. 103–4. ISBN 978-0-8132-1578-5. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  12. ^ Ivo Kamps (1995). Materialist Shakespeare: A History. Verso. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-86091-674-1. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  13. ^ Marilynne K. Roach (1 October 2004). The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege. Taylor Trade Publications. p. 309. ISBN 978-1-58979-132-9. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  14. ^ Cotton Mather; Robert Calef (1866). The wonders of the invisible world, by C. Mather. W. Elliot Woodward. pp. 42–44. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  15. ^ George Lincoln Burr (1 May 2003). Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases 1648 to 1706. Kessinger Publishing. p. 216 note. ISBN 978-0-7661-5773-6. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  16. ^ Robert Burton (1998). The Anatomy of Melancholy: Commentary up to part.1, sect.2, memb.3, subs.15, "Misery of schollers". Oxford University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-19-812332-3. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  17. ^ Margaret J. Osler (13 March 2000). Rethinking the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge University Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-521-66790-6. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  18. ^ Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (1973), p. 353.
  19. ^ John Hunt (1870). Religious Thought in England, from the Reformation to the end of last century: a contribution to the history of theology. Strahan & Co. pp. 349–50. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  20. ^ Jeremy Taylor; Reginald Heber; George Rust; Henry Jeanes (1839). The Life of Taylor. Funeral sermon. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green and Longmans. p. 74. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  21. ^ Philip Benedict; Myron P. Gutmann (2005). Early Modern Europe: From Crisis to Stability. University of Delaware Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-87413-906-8. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  22. ^ William Poole (10 June 2005). Milton and the Idea of the Fall. Cambridge University Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-521-84763-6. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  23. ^ Gregory D. Dodds (9 April 2009). Exploiting Erasmus: The Erasmian Legacy and Religious Change in Early Modern England. University of Toronto Press. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-8020-9900-6. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Gaule, John" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.