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I. e., the witchcraft at Salem in 1692.


As to Parris and Salem Village, and in general as to the Salem witchcraft, which is the subject of the rest of Calef's narrative, see the introduction and notes to Lawson's Brief Account (pp. 147-164, above). That account (as also the parallel narrative of Hale, at pp. 413 ff., below) should be constantly compared with the present one.


1692 of our calendar.


Doubtless Dr. William Griggs, of Salem Village, whose wife's niece, a maid in his household, was one of the “afflicted.”


Abigail Williams, Parris's niece.


West-Indian slaves, brought back with him from Barbadoes.


It was suggested by the wife of a neighbor. When, a fortnight later, she was disciplined by the village church for this dabbling in superstition, Parris himself wrote in the church-record book: “It is well known that when these Calamities first began, which was in my own Family, the Affliction was several weeks before such hellish Operations as Witchcraft was suspected; Nay, it never broke forth to any considerable Light, until diabolical Means was used, by the making of a cake by my Indian Man, who had his Directions from this our Sister Mary Sibly; since which Apparitions have been plenty, and exceeding much Mischief hath followed.” (Upham, Salem Witchcraft, II. 95; Hanson, Danvers, p. 289, quoted by Drake.)


I. e., to meet her prison expenses. She lay there for a year and a month.


Besides the documents of Tituba's case printed in the Records of Salem Witchcraft (I. 41-50), a much fuller report of her examination (March 1-2, 1692) strangely differing from that already printed, is appended to Drake's edition of Mather and Calef (The Witchcraft Delusion in New England, III. 185-195).


On March 1, before John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin. From this point to his entry of April 3 Calef's narrative rests wholly on that of Lawson.


See above, pp. 162-164.


“Sucking” in original; corrected in Errata.


Among them was Samuel Sewall, who wrote in his diary for that day: “Went to Salem, where, in the Meeting-house, the persons accused of Witchcraft were examined; was a very great Assembly; 'twas awfull to see how the afflicted persons were agitated. Mr. Noyes pray'd at the beginning, and Mr. Higginson concluded.” In the margin he has later added: “Vae, Vae, Vae, Witchcraft” — i. e., “woe, woe, woe!” So many (seven) of the magistrates were present that the court took the form of a “council” (the highest of colonial tribunals), under the presidency of Deputy-governor Danforth (Records of Salem Witchcraft, I. 101; Hutchinson, Massachusetts, second ed., II. 27-30).


I. e., than. This spelling was then usual.






Mary Esty, aged 56, was a sister of Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Cloyse. We shall meet her again. As to these Topsfield cases, see above, p. 237, note 1. Edward Bishop, aged 44, was probably a step-son of Bridget Bishop (see above, pp. 223-229, and below, p. 356), and his wife was a daughter of John Wilds. On Mary Black, see Chandler, American Criminal Trials, I. 427, and Upham, Salem Witchcraft, II. 136-137. As for Mary English, see below, p. 371.


“Mary” in original; corrected in Errata.


I. e., cried out against, accused.


The afflicted Indian, i.e., Parris's John: it is clearly a misprint.


I. e., the English Revolution and the overthrow in New England of the Andros government (1689).


He doubtless means especially Cotton Mather. So, at least, Mather assumes in his reply (his letter in Some Few Remarks, etc., pp. 46-47) and vigorously denies that he opposed the reassumption.


See p. 348, note 1.


Doubtless a misprint for “having them taken off.”


The reason for the irons was the assertion of the “afflicted” that their sufferings did not cease till the accused were thus in fetters. An account of the prison-keeper (Hanson, Danvers, p. 290) has such items as: “May 9th, To Chains for Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn, 14s. May 23d, To Shackles for 10 Prisoners. May 29th, to 1 pr. Irons.” See also Records of Salem Witchcraft, II. 212, 213. Even little Dorcas Good was put into chains.


Captain Nathaniel Cary was a shipmaster, a man of ability and prominence, later a member of the General Court and a justice.


Abigail Williams and Ann Putnam.


Talk with.


The Rev. John Hale, of Beverly. As to his part in the trials see below, p. 369.


Cary is speaking, of course, of “John Indian” and Tituba.


Rhode Island. “July 30, 1692. Mrs. Cary makes her escape out of Cambridge-Prison, who was Committed for Witchcraft.” (Sewall, Diary, I. 362.)


“Jonathan” in original: corrected to “Nathaniel” in Errata.


See above, pp. 170, note 2, and 178, note 6. Captain Alden, Indian fighter, naval commander, now at seventy a man of wealth, was one of the leading figures of New England.


The lieutenant-governor — soon to be head of the special court for the trial of the witches. See above, p. 183, note 2, and p. 199.


Bartholomew Gedney, of Salem, the third magistrate, was, like his colleagues, an assistant of the province.


Captain Alden's case seems to have made a great stir. On July 20 there was held a special “Fast at the house of Capt. Alden, upon his account.” Judge Sewall read a sermon, and Willard, Allen, and Cotton Mather prayed, then Captain Hill and Captain Scottow; “concluded about 5. aclock.” (Sewall, Diary, I. 361-362.) A year later, on June 12, 1693, Sewall records: “I visit Capt. Alden and his wife, and tell them I was sorry for their Sorrow and Temptations by reason of his Imprisonment, and that [I] was glad of his Restauration.”


See above, pp. 183-185, 196-198. These gentlemen were all members of the new Council of the province. Saltonstall, out of dissatisfaction with the proceedings, early withdrew (see above, p. 184), and was later himself accused (Sewall's Diary, I. 373). Jonathan Corwin took his place. A quorum was five. All the judges had had experience in the colony's Court of Assistants; but none had had a legal training.


As to the trial of Bridget Bishop see above, pp. 223-229. Before her last marriage she had been a widow Oliver. The testimony against her includes the deposition of a Samuel Gray (Records of Salem Witchcraft, I. 152-153) as to her bewitching to death his child some fourteen years before. Of his repentance at his death, which must have been recent when Calef wrote, the writer doubtless speaks from personal knowledge.


See above, p. 194.


See above, p. 304, notes 3, 5.


The full text of the document, that is, may be found at the end of Increase Mather's Cases of Conscience (London, 1693). With that book, or from it, it has been often reprinted. In his life of Phips (and in its reprint in his Magnalia) Cotton Mather tells us that it was drawn up by himself; but it doubtless embodied a compromise. Increase Mather calls it “the humble Advice which twelve Ministers concurringly presented before his Excellency and Council,” and it entitles itself “The Return of several Ministers consulted by his Excellency, and the Honourable Council, upon the present Witchcrafts in Salem Village.”


Cotton Mather, of course.


As to the trials of Susanna Martin and Elizabeth How see above, pp. , and records there cited. The documents for those of Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Wildes, may be found in Records of Salem Witchcraft (I. 11-34, 76-99, 180-189), but for the two last more fully in the Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society (XIII. 80-92).


I. e., than that.


By Mr. Noyes, of whose church in Salem Town she was a member. Says the church record: “1692, July 3. — After sacrament, the elders propounded to the church, — and it was, by an unanimous vote, consented to, — that our sister Nurse, being a convicted witch by the Court, and condemned to die, should be excommunicated; which was accordingly done in the afternoon, she being present.” (Upham, Salem Witchcraft, II. 290.) Upham, himself long pastor of this church, has drawn a powerful picture of the probable scene.


Two of these testimonials, one of them signed by thirty-eight of her neighbors, are printed by Upham (Salem Witchcraft, II. 271-272), and more exactly, from the still extant MSS., in the Historical Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society (XIII. 57-58) — and with them the touching evidence of the neighbors who first bore her the news of her accusation.


See above, pp. 22, 184, and 186, note 3.


As to the trials of Burroughs and Goodwife Carrier see above, pp. 215-222, 241-244, and records there cited. Those relating to Procter and his wife, to Willard, and to Jacobs may be found in Records of Salem Witchcraft (I. 60-74, 99-117, 266-279, 253-265). The testimonials on behalf of the Procters are reprinted (with corrections) by Upham (Salem Witchcraft, II. 305-307). As to Willard other papers will be found in Dr. S. A. Green's Groton in the Witchcraft Times (Groton, 1883), pp. 23-29. The documents relating to Jacobs are to be found also in the Collections of the Essex Institute (II. 49-57), where (and in I. 52-56) are further details as to him and his household.


For Brattle's account of their execution see above, p. 177.


“This day,” writes Judge Sewall in his diary, “George Burrough, John Willard, Jno. Procter, Martha Carrier and George Jacobs were executed at Salem, a very great number of Spectators being present. Mr. Cotton Mather was there, Mr. Sims, Hale, Noyes, Chiever, etc. All of them said they were innocent, Carrier and all. Mr. Mather says they all died by a Righteous Sentence. Mr. Burrough by his Speech, Prayer, protestation of his Innocence, did much move unthinking persons, which occasions their speaking hardly concerning his being executed.” In the margin he later added “Dolefull Witchcraft!”


Nashaway, an old name of Lancaster.


By “Mr. Mather” is unquestionably meant Increase Mather. He alone, as the senior in age and in dignity, could with propriety be thus given the first place; and his son, if named at all, would have been identified as “Mr. Cotton Mather.” That he is not named at all needs no explanation to those who have read his own words as to accusers and accused and his complaints as to the blame heaped upon himself. Of Moody, Willard, Bailey, we have perhaps seen enough in earlier pages to guess why such an appeal might with hope be addressed to them. The Boston Tory Joshua Broadbent, writing on June 21 from New York, reported that “Mrs. Moody, Parson Moody's wife, is said to be one” of the witches. (Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, 1689-1692, p. 653.) Of Allen, the well-to-do minister of the First Church, who seems to have been a man of much caution, it may be well to remember that prior to 1678 he had owned the estate at Salem Village since occupied, but not yet in full ownership, by the Nurses, Procter's near neighbors, and that he was doubtless personally known to the petitioner. Bailey, who had come to America in 1683, had at first assisted Willard at the South Church, and, after a pastorate at Watertown, was now Allen's assistant at the First.


Juries. It should not be overlooked that in these trials of 1692 the jurors were chosen from among church-members only, not, as later, from all who had the property to make them voters under the new charter. The act establishing this qualification for the jurors was not passed till November 25. (See Goodell in Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, second series, I. 67-68.)


Richard and Andrew, sons of Martha Carrier, of Andover. (See above, pp. 241-244.) Richard was 18.


As to this form of torture see above, p. 102 and note 1. For some of the evidence extorted by it in this case see Records of Salem Witchcraft, p. 198. The use of torture in cases of witchcraft had been recommended by Perkins, the Puritan oracle, and yet more warmly by King James; and despite protesting jurists it came into use. Even Coke, who maintains that “there is no Law to warrant tortures in this land, nor can they be justified by any prescription,” has to add “being so lately brought in” (Institutes, III., cap. 2). As to its actual use in English witch-trials see Notestein, Witchcraft in England, index, s. v. “Torture.” But Massachusetts law, from 1641 on, had straitly forbidden it except, after conviction, to extort the names of accomplices; and even then forbade “such tortures as be barbarous and inhumane” (see Body of Liberties, par. 45; ed. of 1660, p. 67; ed. of 1672, p. 129). If in 1648 the highest court of the colony, learning with admiration of the achievements of Matthew Hopkins in England, was “desirous that the same course which hath been taken in England for the discovery of witches, by watchinge, may also be taken here,” and ordered, in the case of a witch, that “a strict watch be set about her every night, and that her husband be confined to a private room, and watched also” (Records of Massachusetts, III. 126), their phrasing betrays how little they understood the rigor of the English method. In 1692 even Cotton Mather declared himself “farr from urging the un-English method of torture” (Mather Papers, p. 394), though he urged on the judges “whatever hath a tendency to put the witches into confusion,” such as “Crosse and Swift Questions.” But the procedure of that day, like our own, drew a line between what might be used in the courts and what might be permitted to extra-judicial inquiry, and we shall see yet more of methods used at Salem to extort confession.


That which.


I. e., out of charity the neighbors relieved her.


How she was brought to confess she herself told in a brave paper:

“The humble declaration of Margaret Jacobs unto the honoured court now sitting at Salem, sheweth

“That whereas your poor and humble declarant being closely confined here in Salem jail for the crime of witchcraft, which crime, thanks be to the Lord, I am altogether ignorant of, as will appear at the great day of judgment. May it please the honoured court, I was cried out upon by some of the possessed persons, as afflicting of them; whereupon I was brought to my examination, which persons at the sight of me fell down, which did very much startle and affright me. The Lord above knows I knew nothing, in the least measure, how or who afflicted them; they told me, without doubt I did, or else they would not fall down at me; they told me if I would not confess, I should be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I should have my life; the which did so affright me, with my own vile wicked heart, to save my life made me make the confession I did, which confession, may it please the honoured court, is altogether false and untrue. The very first night after I had made my confession, I was in such horror of conscience that I could not sleep, for fear the Devil should carry me away for telling such horrid lies. I was, may it please the honoured court, sworn to my confession, as I understand since, but then, at that time, was ignorant of it, not knowing what an oath did mean. The Lord, I hope, in whom I trust, out of the abundance of his mercy, will forgive me my false forswearing myself. What I said was altogether false, against my grandfather, and Mr. Burroughs, which I did to save my life and to have my liberty; but the Lord, charging it to my conscience, made me in so much horror, that I could not contain myself before I had denied my confession, which I did, though I saw nothing but death before me, choosing rather death with a quiet conscience, than to live in such horror, which I could not suffer. Whereupon my denying my confession, I was committed to close prison, where I have enjoyed more felicity in spirit a thousand times than I did before in my enlargement.

“And now, may it please your honours, your poor and humble declarant having, in part, given your honours a description of my condition, do leave it to your honours pious and judicious discretions to take pity and compassion on my young and tender years; to act and do with me as the Lord above and your honours shall see good, having no friend but the Lord to plead my cause for me; not being guilty in the least measure of the crime of witchcraft, nor any other sin that deserves death from man; and your poor and humble declarant shall forever pray, as she is bound in duty, for your honours' happiness in this life, and eternal felicity in the world to come. So prays your honours declarant.

Margaret Jacobs.”

The document is preserved by Hutchinson, and may be found in the first chapter of his second volume (or in Poole's reprint of an earlier draft, N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXIV. 402-403).


Daniel Andrew, the kinsman and neighbor who had fled with her father. He had been a leading man, a teacher, a deputy to the General Court, and apparently a staunch opponent of the panic. As to the crazed mother, see p. 371, below, and the grandmother's petition in Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, V. 79 (or in Chandler's American Criminal Trials, I. 431-432).


For a little more of her story see below, p. 371. She was acquitted in January, but had to remain in jail, even after the governor by proclamation had freed the prisoners (May, 1693), for want of means to pay her prison fees. A stranger, touched with compassion on hearing of her case, advanced the money — and was in time repaid. (Upham, Salem Witchcraft, II. 353-354.)


The papers relating to Ann Pudeater (Records of Salem Witchcraft, II. 12-22) have been embodied in a study of her case by G. F. Chever in the Collections of the Essex Institute (II. 37-42, 49-54). The widow Dorcas Hoar seems to have earned some suspicion by an interest in fortune-telling (Records of Salem Witchcraft, I. 235-253), and, though she confessed, she was condemned; but she had potent friends. “A petition is sent to Town,” says Sewall in his Diary on September 21, “in behalf of Dorcas Hoar, who now confesses. Accordingly an order is sent to the Sheriff to forbear her Execution.” “This is,” he adds, “the first condemned person who has confess'd.” The aged Mrs. Bradbury, daughter of John Perkins of Ipswich and wife of Captain Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, was not only one of the most socially eminent but one of the most venerated women of her region, and her arrest enlisted in her defence the public sentiment of all the district (see Records of Salem Witchcraft, II. 160-174). She was aided to escape from prison, and so from death.


For the Andover and Topsfield cases reference may again be made to Mrs. Bailey's Historical Sketches of Andover and to vol. XIII. of the Collections of the Topsfield Historical Society as well as to the Records of Salem Witchcraft. The papers as to Wilmot Redd, or Reed, are in the Records (II. 97-106); Margaret Scott's seem lost. The examinations of Mary Lacy and Ann Foster should be studied in Hutchinson's chapter as well as in the Records (II. 135-142), and see also p. 244, above, and pp. 418-419, below.


This was, of course, the old English “peine forte et dure” for those who, in cases of petty treason or of felony, will not “put themselves upon the country,” or, as Coke has it, “when the offender standeth mute, and refuseth to be tryed by the common law of the land.” (See Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, second ed., II. 650-652.) Whether in Giles Corey's case this was mere proud protest or had some ulterior end is not yet clear. The theory that he hoped thereby to save himself from attainder and preserve his right to bequeath his property has been learnedly contested by G. H. Moore (see especially his Final Notes on Witchcraft in Massachusetts, New York, 1885, pp. 40-59). As to Giles Corey see also p. 250, above, and Records of Salem Witchcraft, II. 175-180. The missing report of his examination is printed at the end of Calef's book in the editions of 1823, 1861, and 1866.


Mary Herrick. At least the following remarkable tale of hers (first published in the N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXVII. 55) must have had to do with Mr. Hale's change of view:

“An Account Received from the mouth of Mary Herrick aged about 17 yeares having been Afflicted [by] the Devill or some of his instruments, about 2 month. She saith she had oft been Afflicted and that the shape of Mrs. Hayle had been represented to her, One amongst others, but she knew not what hand Afflicted her then, but on the 5th of the 9th [i. e., November] She Appeared again with the Ghost of Gooddee Easty, and that then Mrs. Hayle did sorely Afflict her by pinching, pricking and Choaking her. On the 12th of the 9th she Came again and Gooddee Easty with her and then Mrs. Hayle did Afflict her as formerly. Sd Easty made as if she would speake but did not, but on the same night they Came again and Mrs. Hayle did sorely Afflict her, and asked her if she thought she was a Witch. The Girl answered no, You be the Devill. Then said Easty sd and speake, She Came to tell her She had been put to Death wrongfully and was Innocent of Witchcraft, and she Came to Vindicate her Cause and she Cryed Vengeance, Vengeance, and bid her reveal this to Mr. Hayle and Gerish, and then she would rise no more, nor should Mrs. Hayle Afflict her any more. Memorand: that Just before sd Easty was Executed, She Appeared to sd Girl, and said I am going upon the Ladder to be hanged for a Witch, but I am innocent, and before a 12 Month be past you shall believe it. Sd Girl sd she speake not of this before because she believed she was Guilty, Till Mrs. Hayle appeared to her and Afflicted her, but now she believeth it is all a Delusion of the Devil.

“This before Mr. Hayle and Gerish 14th of the 9th 1692.”

“Gerish” means the Rev. Joseph Gerrish, of Wenham, who is doubtless here the scribe.


But see (at pp. 404, 405, below) Hale's own account of this change of view.


Hale's whole book (see below, pp. 397-432) is a commentary on this passage.


His wife was a daughter of John Putnam, brother of Nathaniel and uncle of Deacon Edward and of the Thomas whose wife and daughter were of the “afflicted.” As to the Bishops see (besides Upham) Essex Institute Collections, XLII. 146 ff.


At pp. 247-248, above.


I. e., it needs no oracle to explain the matter; see p. 248, note 1.


Philip English was the foremost ship-owner of Salem, a man of large wealth and exceptional prominence. He had come in early life from the island of Jersey and at Salem had married, in 1675, the daughter and heiress of the merchant William Hollingworth. His wife, now thirty-nine, a lady of education and refinement, was arrested on April 22 (see p. 347, above) and on April 30 a warrant was issued for himself, but he could not be found. Detected, however, in his Boston hiding-place, he was on May 31 committed, but was allowed to give bail, and with his wife was kept in loose custody at Boston. As to their escape thence, see above, pp. 178, 186, note 3; and for their story in general the articles by G. F. Chever in the Essex Institute's Collections, I., II., Salem Witchcraft Records, I. 189-193, the evidence of William Beale appended by Drake to his ed. of Mather and Calef (III. 177-185), the documents printed in the Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, X. 17-20, a letter of Dr. Bentley in Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, first ser., X. 64-66, and a passage from his diary quoted by R. D. Paine in The Ships and Sailors of Old Salem (New York, 1909), pp. 26-28.


See above, pp. 360, 364.


Margaret.See pp. 364-366.


A son of the venerable Governor Bradstreet and himself a man of station.


I. e., New Hampshire.


On this Andover episode see also pp. 180-181, 241-244, above.


Its last session was on September 22, though the court was not definitely dropped till the end of October. See above, p. 200 and note 1.


The implication perhaps is that the governor exceeded his powers. That question has been much and hotly debated — most learnedly by Mr. A. C. Goodell in his Further Notes on the History of Witchcraft in Massachusetts (Cambridge, 1884), pp. 20 ff., and Dr. G. H. Moore in his Final Notes on Witchcraft in Massachusetts (New York, 1885), pp. 71-84.


This is an error. In England, too, witches were hanged — unless convicted of bewitching to death their husbands, when for husband-murder, “petty treason,” they were burned (see Coke, Institutes, pt. III., cap. 2, 6, 101, and the records of the courts). Sir Matthew Hale indeed makes witchcraft “at Common Law” still “punished with death, as Heresie, by Writ De Hæretico Comburendo” (Pleas of the Crown, p. 6). But this, of course, was after trial by an ecclesiastical court; and since the Reformation ecclesiastical courts had not had cognizance of such cases.


This, the most striking feature of the Salem trials, is perhaps partially explained by the closing suggestion of Cotton Mather's advice to the judges (Mather Papers, p. 396): “What if some of the lesser Criminalls be onely scourged with lesser punishments, and also put upon some solemn, open, Publike and Explicitt renunciation of the Divil?... Or what if the death of some of the offenders were either diverted or inflicted, according to the successe of such their renunciation?” If it was unique that those who confessed escaped death, it was nothing unique that they should be reckoned “lesser Criminalls.”


The Rev. Thomas Barnard, associate minister at Andover. Dane, his senior, seems to have been averse to the proceedings.


This is doubtless what Brattle calls (p. 189, above) “a petition lately offered to the chief Judge.” The examination and confession of Mary Osgood may be found in Hutchinson's Massachusetts, II. ch. I. (or in Poole's reprint, N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXIV. 398). She, the two Tylers, and Abigail Barker were tried and acquitted in January at the first session of the new Superior Court (see in vol. X. of the Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts the brief but valuable paper of John Noble, pp. 12-26).


best commentary on these words is a remarkable paper which more than a century ago came into the hands of the Massachusetts Historical Society and was published in its Collections (second series, 111. 221-225). As Dr. Belknap, who prepared it for publication, labelled it "Remainder of the account of the Salem Witchcraft" and seems to have meant it to be printed with Brattle's letter (see pp. 169-190, above), it is not improbable that, with that document, it had come from the family of Brattle and that it was originally his. In that case it is by no means impossible that in his hands Calef may have seen it and that from him he may have received the recantation printed just above. The added paper runs:

"Salem, Oct. 19, '92. The Rev. Mr. 1. Mather went to Salem [to visit] the confessours (so called): He conferred with several of them, and they spake as follows:" [Then are narrated the explanations given by eleven of the women, the most suggestive being this:] "Goodwife Tyler did say, that when she was first apprehended, she had no fears upon her, and did think that nothing could have made her confesse against herself; but since, she had found to her great grief, that she had wronged the truth, and falsely accused herself: she said, that when she was brought to Salem, her brother Bridges rode with her, and that all along the way from Andover to Salem, her brother kept telling her that she must needs be a witch, since the afflicted accused her, and at her touch were raised out of their fitts, and urging her to confess herself a witch; she as constantly told him,that she was no witch, that she knew nothing of witchcraft, and begg'd of him not to urge her to confesse; however when she came to Salem, she was carried to a room, where her brother on one side and Mr. John Emerson on the other side did tell her that she was certainly a witch, and that she saw the devill before her eyes at that time (and accordingly the said Emerson would attempt with his hand to beat him away from her eyes) and they so urged her to confesse, that she wished herself in any dungeon, rather than be so treated: Mr. Emerson told her once and again, Well! I see you will not confesse! Well! I will now leave you , and then you are undone, body and soul forever: Her brother urged her to confesse, and told her that in so doing she could not lye; to which she answered, Good brother, do not say so, for I shall lye if I confesse, and then who shall answer unto God for my lye? He still asserted it, and said that God would not suffer so many good men to be in such an errour about it, and that she would be hang'd, if she did not confesse, and continued so long and so violently to urge and presse her to confesse, that she thought verily her life would have gone from her, and became so terrifyed in her mind, that she own'd at length almost any thing that they propounded to her; but she had wronged her conscience in so doing, she was guilty of a great sin in belying of herself, and desired to mourn for it as long as she lived: This she said and a great deal more of the like nature, and all of it with such affection, sorrow, relenting, grief, and mourning as that it exceeds any pen for to describe and expresse the same."

The "Mr. John Emerson" of this episode was that clerical schoolmaster whom we have already met in New Hampshire (see p. 37, note 3), but who was now, a teacher at Charlestown. (Sibley, Harvard Graduates, II. 471-474.) If so personal an activity of President Mather surprise, let it be remembered how widely the persecution was now striking. His parishioner Lady Phips was among the accused, and the Quaker John Whiting has a yet more startling suggestion: commenting in 1702 on the account just printed in Cotton Mather's Magnalia, he mentions the "two Hundred more accused, some of which of great Estates in Boston," and in the margin adds, "Query, Was not the Governour's Wife, and C. M.'s Mother, some of them?" (Truth and Innocency Defended, p. 140.)

Yet not all dared to retract. "More than one or two of those now in Prison," writes Increase Mather (Cases of Conscience, Postscript), "have freely and credibly acknowledged their Communion and Familiarity with the Spirits of Darkness; and have also declared unto me the Time and Occasion, with the particular Circumstances of their Hellish Obligations and Abominations."


Cotton Mather's Wonders, with its imprimatur by Phips and its preface by Stoughton, see above, pp. 205 ff.


Increase Mather: the printer seems unable to distinguish Calef's I from his J.


The book, with all its credulity, is in the main a vigorous and learned argument against improper methods for detecting witches, and chiefly against reliance on the testimony of the bewitched. Commended by the ministers, fourteen of whom sign the preface “to the Christian reader,” it may have done something to allay the panic. But, though it is dated by the author “October 3,” the title-page date of 1693 suggests that, like his son's Wonders (see p. 207, note 1), it was long in the press or withheld from the public.


As the pages of Mather's Wonders containing these trials are reprinted in full above (pp. 215-244), it is needless here to repeat them. They occupy pp. 113-139 of Calef's book. Then comes what here follows.


See p. 216.


See p. 229.


See p. 237.


See p. 244.


The author had himself said, “I report matters not as an Advocate, but as an Historian.”


Phips, Stoughton, and the latter's fellow-judges.


As to the insertion in Mather's account of evidence not given at the trial, and as to his errors of statement, see the careful analysis of Upham in his “Salem Witchcraft and Cotton Mather,” pp. 46-48 (Historical Magazine, n. s., VI. 175-177).


To those who know the wretched chap-books which have had to serve as records of the English witch-trials — and these alone Calef was likely to know — this will not seem high praise. The modern student can, however, compare for himself Mather's accounts with the court records — and, where mere transcription is concerned, will find them faithful.


See pp. 225-227. Shattuck, testifying in 1692, placed in 1680 his child's bewitchment, but “about 17 or 18 years after” the exposure of the witch.


See pp. 239-240.


The offense charged, in the indictments printed by Calef, was that the accused “wickedly and feloniously hath used certain detestable arts, called witchcrafts and sorceries, by which said wicked arts” the said bewitched “was and is tortured, afflicted, pined, consumed, wasted and tormented against the peace of our sovereign lord and lady, the King and Queen, and against the form of the statute in that case made and provided.” This was the usual form; but four of the indictments extant (against Rebecca Eames, Samuel Wardwell, Rebecca Jacobs, Records of Salem Witchcraft, II. 24, 143, 147-148, and William Barker's, preserved by Chandler, American Criminal Trials, I. 429) charge instead that the accused “wickedly and feloniously a covenant with the Evil Spirit the Devil did make,” and in two of these “the statute of King James the First” is expressly named as contravened. That statute, indeed, punished alike with death those who should “consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward any evil or wicked spirit,” and the laws of Massachusetts made it death “if any man or woman be a witch (that is, hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit)” — without a mention of harm to man or beast as element of the crime. That the indictments specify such harm was perhaps only because the public attorney — Thomas Newton (succeeded on July 26 by Anthony Checkley) — was fresh from English practice; but, as Calef implies, the proof should meet the indictment. Newton (1660-1721) had come to Boston in 1688. Mr. Goodell, who studied the originals, says the quoted indictments mentioning the English statute “appear to have been drawn in blank by him, and afterwards filled in by Checkley” (Further Notes, p. 37). As to Newton see the study of Moore (Final Notes, pp. 94-103). Edward Randolph says of him (V. 143) that he was “a person well known in the practice in the Courts in England and New England,” while Checkley he calls “a man ignorant in the Laws of England.” In 1691 Newton had been attorney general at New York.


The laws of the colony had never ceased to be operative; and the first act passed (June 15, 1692) by the General Court under the new charter was for the continuance of these laws, “being not repugnant to the laws of England nor inconsistent with the present constitution,” in full force till November 10. On October 29 the Court passed a general “act for the punishing of capital offenders,” in which the old Massachusetts law as to witchcraft — “If any man or woman be a witch, that is, hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit, they shall be put to death” — retains its old place and wording. And on December 14, “for more particular direction in the execution of the law against witchcraft,” the same General Court enacted the long English statute of 1604 (1 James I., cap. 12) — omitting only the penalty of loss of “the privilege and benefit of clergy and sanctuary” and the clauses saving dower and inheritance to widow and heir of the convicted and providing that peers shall be tried by peers, substituting as the place of pillorying “some shire town” for “some market town upon the market day or at such time as any fair shall be kept there,” and adding to the penalty (for the lighter degrees of sorcery) of imprisonment, pillory, and public confession of the offence, the clause: “which said offense shall be written in capital letters, and placed upon the breast of said offender.” The commission creating the Court of Oyer and Terminer (May 27, 1692) antedated, however, all these laws, and instructed that body “to enquire of, hear and determine for this time, according to the law and custom of England and of this their Majesties' province, all and all manner of crimes.” (For a learned study of witchcraft laws in England and New England see Moore's Notes on Witchcraft, pp. 3-11.)




“We do not know” — i. e., no basis for prosecution.


“A true bill.”


Elizabeth Johnson and Mary Post. Elizabeth Johnson (as to whom see also p. 420) was reprieved, and after six months' imprisonment was freed. Her grandfather, the Rev. Francis Dane, said of her “she is but simplish at the best.” Mary Post and Sarah Wardwell likewise escaped death.


And so the public attorney told the governor (see p. 201).


See pp. 366-367.


I. e., as of less than no worth.


By Governor Phips (see p. 201).




On Sarah Daston's case see documents printed in the Publications (X. 12-16) of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and the brief account of her trial by an eye-witness in the letter prefixed to the London edition of Increase Mather's Cases of Conscience.


As to Mary Watkins see an article in the N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register (XLIV. 168 ff.). She lived at Milton, was white, and on August 11 was still in prison, but was asking the jail-keeper to provide a master to carry her “out of this country into Virginia.”


I. e., on payment of fees. See pp. 343, 366.


He means, of course, Mercy Short (see above, pp. 255 ff.) and Margaret Rule (see pp. 308-323). From this sentence it seems clear that this account of the Salem episode was written before the earlier pages of his book, which begins with the narrative of Margaret Rule and takes its title from it.


Phips left for England November 17, 1694. (Sewall's Diary, I. 393.)


See above, p. 21.




Of Winifred Benham, mother and daughter, Mr. Taylor (The Witchcraft Delusion in Colonial Connecticut, p. 155) learns only — from “Records Court of Assistants (1: 74, 77) ” — that they were in August, 1697, tried and acquitted at Hartford, and in October indicted on new complaints, the jury returning “Ignoramus.” They were doubtless the widow and daughter of that “Joseph Benham of New Haven,” who in 1656/7 was married at Boston to Winifred King (N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XI. 203) and later became one of the first settlers of Wallingford. (See also Davis, History of Wallingford and Meriden, p. 412, cited by Levermore, in the New Englander, XLIV. 815.)


For the interesting story of this proclamation see the Diary (I. 439-441) of Judge Sewall, who drafted its final form, and that of Cotton Mather (I. 211), who drew a rejected one. The draft itself, with a careful study of these proceedings, see in Moore's Notes on Witchcraft (pp. 14-19).


The punctuation of the copy in the Massachusetts archives, as printed in a note to Sewall's Diary (I. 440), joins “more ways than one” to “unsettling of us.”


I. e., therefor.


Samuel Sewall. The exact wording of his paper he gives in his Diary (I. 445):

“Copy of the Bill I put up on the Fast day; giving it to Mr. Willard as he pass'd by, and standing up at the reading of it, and bowing when finished; in the Afternoon.

“Samuel Sewall, sensible of the reiterated strokes of God upon himself and family; and being sensible, that as to the Guilt contracted upon the opening of the late Commission of Oyer and Terminer at Salem (to which the order for this Day relates) he is, upon many accounts, more concerned than any that he knows of, Desires to take the Blame and shame of it, Asking pardon of men, And especially desiring prayers that God, who has an Unlimited Authority, would pardon that sin and all other his sins, personal and Relative: And according to his infinite Benignity, and Sovereignty, Not Visit the sin of him, or of any other, upon himself or any of his, nor upon the Land: But that He would powerfully defend him against all Temptations to Sin, for the future; and vouchsafe him the efficacious, saving Conduct of his Word and Spirit.”


This ends the book, as first written; but the author adds a “Postscript,” called out by the publication, in 1697, of Cotton Mather's life of Sir William Phips, who had died in London early in 1695. Not the achievements of Sir William, thinks Calef, but Increase Mather's negotiation in England and his procuring of the new charter, “are the things principally driven at in the book,” and “another principal thing is to set forth the supposed witchcrafts in New-England, and how well Mr. Mather the Younger therein acquitted himself.” Wherefore, after freeing his mind as to the matter of the charter, he takes up Mather's allegations as to the Salem episode, and, pointing out that, “tho this Book pretends to raise a Statue in Honour of Sir William, yet it appears it was the least part of the design of the Author to Honour him, but rather to Honour himself, and the Ministers,” since by so printing the advice of the ministers (see above, p. 356) “as to give a full Account of the cautions given him, but designedly hiding from the Reader the Incouragements and Exhortations to proceed,” it really throws the blame upon Phips, he devotes the remaining pages, here reprinted, to Cotton Mather's real views and their influence. The Life of Phips, now a rare book, is reprinted in Mather's Magnalia.


In a part of his book not here reprinted (pp. 85 ff.) Calef speaks more fully of this paper, lent him early in 1695, but on condition of its return within a fortnight and uncopied. It was perhaps the MS. described by Poole (Memorial History, II. 152, note) as now in the possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and called “Cotton Mather's belief and practice in those thorny difficulties which have distracted us in the day of temptation” — having “marginal reflections in another hand.” [Since the foregoing words were written, this conjecture has been proved true. See above, p. 306, note 1.]




A German abbot and scholar who in the early sixteenth century wrote most credulously about witches and angels.






I. e., than.