Resolution No. 26
February Session, 2008
LCO No. 3390
Referred to Committee on Judiciary
RESOLUTION CONCERNING CERTAIN CONVICTIONS IN COLONIAL CONNECTICUT.
Resolved by this Assembly:
WHEREAS, in colonial Connecticut various men and women were accused by their neighbors and townsfolk of practicing witchcraft; and
WHEREAS, such accusations were made for a variety of reasons; and
WHEREAS, such accusations were sometimes made because a person was associated with the sudden and unexplained illness of another person, or predicted the illness or recovery from illness of another person, or had knowledge of past or future events; and
WHEREAS, such accusations were sometimes made simply because a person habitually muttered to himself or herself, or talked to unseen persons, or used vulgar language, or gave evil looks, or was a notorious liar, or was a nonconformist, or caused discord among his or her neighbors; and
WHEREAS, some of the accused persons were indicted and put on trial for practicing witchcraft; and
WHEREAS, these trials were conducted without the evidentiary procedures and safeguards that are standard in Connecticut's criminal justice system today; and
WHEREAS, some of the accused persons were found guilty of practicing witchcraft and sentenced to death by hanging.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that although the facts of the accusations, prosecutions, trials and executions of persons for practicing witchcraft in colonial Connecticut cannot be undone or changed, the General Assembly declares its belief that such proceedings, even if lawful under the then existing law of the colony of Connecticut, were shocking, and the result of community-wide hysteria and fear, and that no disgrace or cause for distress should attach to the descendants of these accused and convicted persons by reason of such proceedings; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the adoption of this resolution does not bestow on the state, any political subdivision of the state or any person any right that did not exist prior to its adoption, or authorize any suit or other proceeding, or deprive any party to a suit or other proceeding of any defense that such party previously had, or affect in any way the title to or rights in any real or personal property, or require or permit the remission of any penalty, fine or forfeiture previously imposed or incurred.