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At Examination, and at other times, 'twas usual for the Accusers to tell of the black Man, or of a Spectre, as being then on the Table, etc. The People about would strike with Swords, or sticks at those places. One Justice broke his Cane at this Exercise, and sometimes the Accusers would say, they struck the Spectre, and it is reported several of the accused were hurt and wounded thereby, though at home at the same time.

The Justices proceeding in these works of Examination, and Commitment, to the end of May, there was by that time about a Hundred persons Imprisoned upon that Account.

June 2. A special Commission of Oyer and Terminer having been Issued out, to Mr. Stoughton, the New Lieutenant Governour, Major Saltonstall, Major Richards, Major Gidny, Mr. Wait Winthrop, Captain Sewall, and Mr. Sergeant;[259] These (a Quorum of them) sat at Salem this day; where the


most that was done this Week, was the Tryal of one Bishop, alias Oliver, of Salem; who having long undergone the repute of a Witch, occasioned by the Accusations of one Samuel Gray: he about 20 Years since, having charged her with such Crimes, and though upon his Death-bed he testified his sorrow and repentance for such Accustations, as being wholly groundless; yet the report taken up by his means continued, and she being accused by those afflicted, and upon search a Tet, as they call it, being found, she was brought in guilty by the Jury; she received her Sentence of Death, and was Executed, June 10, but made not the least Confession of any thing relating to Witchcraft.[260]

June 15. Several Ministers in and near Boston, having been to that end consulted by his Excellency,[261] exprest their minds to this effect, viz.

That they were affected with the deplorable state of the afflicted; That they were thankful for the diligent care of the Rulers, to detect the abominable Witchcrafts, which have been committed in the Country, praying for a perfect discovery thereof. But advised to a cautious proceeding, least many Evils ensue, etc. And that tenderness be used towards those accused, relating to matters presumptive and convictive, and also to privacy in Examinations, and to consult Mr. Perkins and Mr. Bernard,[262] what tests to make use of in the Scrutiny: That Presumptions and Convictions ought to have better grounds, than the Accusers affirming that they see such persons Spectres afflicting them: And that the Devil may afflict in the shape of good Men; and that falling at the sight, and rising at the touch of the Accused, is no infallible proof of guilt; That seeing the Devils strength consists in such Accusations, our disbelieving them may be a means to put a period to the dreadful Calamities; Nevertheless they humbly recommend to the Government, the speedy and vigorous prosecu


tion of such as have rendered themselves obnoxious, according to the direction given in the Laws of God, and the wholesome Statutes of the English Nation, for the Detection of Witchcraft.

This is briefly the substance of what may be seen more at large in Cases of Conscience, (ult.)[263] And one of them[264] since taking occasion to repeat some part of this advice, Wonders of the Invisible World, p. 83, declares, (notwithstanding the Dissatisfaction of others) that if his said Book may conduce to promote thankfulness to God for such Executions, he shall rejoyce, etc.

The 30th of June, the Court according to Adjournment again sat; five more were tried, viz. Sarah Good and Rebecca Nurse, of Salem-Village; Susanna Martin of Amsbury; Elizabeth How of Ipswich; and Sarah Wildes of Topsfield; these were all condemned that Sessions, and were all Executed on the 19th of July.[265]

At the Tryal of Sarah Good, one of the afflicted fell in a Fit, and after coming out of it, she cried out of the Prisoner, for stabing her in the breast with a Knife, and that she had broken the Knife in stabbing of her, accordingly a piece of the blade of a Knife was found about her. Immediately information being given to the Court, a young Man was called, who produced a Haft and part of the Blade, which the Court having viewed and compared, saw it to be the same. And upon inquiry the young Man affirmed, that yesterday he happened to break that Knife, and that he cast away the upper part, this afflicted person being then present. The young Man was


dismist, and she was bidden by the Court not to tell lyes; and was improved (after as she had been before) to give Evidence against the Prisoners.

At Execution, Mr. Noyes urged Sarah Good to Confess, and told her she was a Witch, and she knew she was a Witch, to which she replied, “you are a lyer; I am no more a Witch than you are a Wizard, and if you take away my Life, God will give you Blood to drink.”

At the Tryal of Rebecka Nurse, this was remarkable that the Jury brought in their Verdict not Guilty, immediately all the accusers in the Court, and suddenly after all the afflicted out of Court, made an hideous out-cry, to the amazement, not only of the Spectators, but the Court also seemed strangely surprized; one of the Judges exprest himself not satisfied, another of them as he was going off the Bench, said they would have her Indicted anew. The chief Judge said he would not Impose upon the Jury; but intimated, as if they had not well considered one Expression of the Prisoners, when she was upon Tryal, viz. That when one Hobbs, who had confessed her self to be a Witch, was brought into the Court to witness against her, the Prisoner turning her head to her, said, “What, do you bring her? she is one of us,” or to that effect; this together with the Clamours of the Accusers, induced the Jury to go out again, after their Verdict, not Guilty. But not agreeing, they came into the Court, and she being then at the Bar, her words were repeated to her, in order to have had her explanation of them, and she making no Reply to them, they found the Bill, and brought her in Guilty; these words being the Inducement to it, as the Foreman has signified in writing, as follows.

July 4, 1692.

I Thomas Fisk, the Subscriber hereof, being one of them that were of the Jury the last week at Salem-Court, upon the Tryal of Rebecka Nurse, etc., being desired by some of the Relations to give a Reason why the Jury brought her in Guilty, after her Verdict not Guilty; I do hereby give my Reasons to be as follows, viz.

When the Verdict not Guilty was, the honoured Court was pleased to object against it, saying to them, that they think they let slip the words, which the Prisoner at the Bar spake against her self, which were spoken in reply to Goodwife Hobbs and her Daughter, who had been faulty in setting their hands to the Devils Book, as they have confessed formerly; the words were “What, do these persons


give in Evidence against me now, they used to come among us.” After the honoured Court had manifested their dissatisfaction of the Verdict, several of the Jury declared themselves desirous to go out again, and thereupon the honoured Court gave leave; but when we came to consider of the Case, I could not tell how to take her words, as an Evidence against her, till she had a further opportunity to put her Sense upon them, if she would take it; and then going into Court, I mentioned the words aforesaid, which by one of the Court were affirmed to have been spoken by her, she being then at the Bar, but made no reply, nor interpretation of them; whereupon these words were to me a principal Evidence against her.

Thomas Fisk.