In 1706 crazy people in Ms. Sherwood’s village decided she was a witch, so they tied her up and threw her into the Lynnhaven River. Since she floated, she was apparently a witch. Fascinating. So, which angle should I take on this news?
The Witch of Pungo is no longer a witch. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Monday gave an informal pardon to Grace Sherwood, who 300 years ago became Virginia’s only person convicted as a witch tried by water.
“I am pleased to officially restore the good name of Grace Sherwood,” Kaine wrote in a letter Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf read aloud before a re-enactment of Sherwood’s being dropped into the river.
“With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice,” Kaine wrote. “We also can celebrate the fact that a woman’s equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams.”
It’s nice to know that our
state’s commonwealth’s governor can find time for an extra kooky publicity stunt in which to babble about a woman’s constitutionally-protected equality. We’re so much more enlightened now than ever before. Except when we’re not, of course. We can’t take this as a clear lesson that the citizen mob can go bonkers and adjust our civil protection of liberty further. Nope, that’s too obvious. So here’s what I propose: Ms. Sherwood’s guilt should be maintained forever. After all, the will of the people is most important. Besides, there’s a long tradition of prosecuting witches. Who are we to question the wisdom of that history? It’s older than our republic!
Long live traditional defenses against magic.