University of Virginia Library





Of Robert Calef almost nothing is known except what can be learned from his book. There has even been doubt as to whether, of the two Robert Calefs known to us in Boston at this time, the writer was the father or the son. In 1692, the time of the Salem witchcraft, the father's age was 44, the son's 18.[149] It is unlikely that anybody would have thought of the son but for a note copied into one of the memorandum-books of Dr. Jeremy Belknap (1744-1798).[150] This note, of unknown source reads: “Robert Calef, author of `More Wonders of the Invisible World,' printed at London in 1700, was a native of England; a young man of good sense, and free from superstition; a merchant in Boston. He was furnished with materials for his work by Mr. Brattle, of Cambridge; and his brother, of Boston; and other gentlemen, who were opposed to the Salem proceedings. — E. P.” The writer speaks as if with knowledge; and that so sound a historian as Dr. Belknap should have copied the note speaks for its worth. Able scholars have by it been led to ascribe the book to the younger Robert; but more careful study seems to show the objections insuperable. The author never adds “Jr.” to his name, as a son would have done, and as seems to have been the younger Robert's custom.[151] He never pleads youth, even


when most apologetic; and, what weighs more, his indignant foes, seeking all ways to discredit him, never hint at such a thing. His matter and style have in them nothing of boyishness; and once, in words suggestive of a migrant and a man of years, he speaks (p. 297, below) of “sound Reason, which is what I have been long seeking for in this Country in vain.” Most serious of all, his handwriting seems that found in documents clearly the elder Calef's, and is that of a mature and even by 1700 that of an aging man; while that of the younger Robert was in 1719-1722 still firm and flexible — and notably different.[152]

Robert Calef the elder came to America at some time before 1688. He was a cloth-merchant, and doubtless a maker as


well as a seller of cloths.[153] Of his eight children the eldest was, in 1692, a physician in Ipswich. What led to the writing of More Wonders he has himself told us in his book. It remains only to testify to the care and exactness which all comparison of his work with the records seems to show, and to remark that to a student of the literature of witchcraft it is evident that his reading is larger than he cares to parade. Though he clearly belonged to the popular party, this is as likely to be a result as a cause — it is probably neither — of his feeling on the subject of the witch superstition; and that he had else any grievance against the Mathers or their colleagues there is no reason to think.

His book, though completed in 1697, was not printed till 1700, and then in London. In June, 1698, Cotton Mather records in his diary that “a sort of a Sadducee in this town” “hath written a Volumn of invented and notorious lies”; “this Volumn,” he adds, “hee is, as I understand, sending to England, that it may bee printed there.” Why it found no printer in New England can be guessed; the storm it raised when it appeared in print is well known. President Increase Mather “ordered the wicked book to be burnt in the college yard,” [154] and his son's diary is eloquent with vexation.

“Some Years ago,” runs his entry of November 15, 1700, “a very wicked sort of a Sadducee in this Town, raking together a crue of Libels, which he had written at several Times,


(especially relating to the Wonders of the Invisible World which have been among us) wherein I am the cheef Butt of his malice, (tho' many other better Servants of the Lord are also most maliciously abused by him:) he sent this vile Volume to London to be published. Now, tho' I had often and often cried unto the Lord, that the Cup of this Man's abominable Bundle of Lies, written on purpose, with a Quil under a special Energy and Management of Satan, to damnify my precious Opportunities of Glorifying my Lord Jesus Christ, might pass from me; Yett, in this point, the Lord has denied my Request: the Book is printed, and the Impression is this week arrived here.”

It was even felt necessary to print a reply; but the two Mathers held it beneath them to plead in their own vindication. It fell to their parishioners. “My pious neighbours are so provoked,” writes Cotton Mather (December 4), “at the diabolical Wickedness of the Man who has published a Volume of Libels against my Father and myself, that they sett apart whole Dayes of Prayer, to complain unto God against him.” The outcome of their communings together was a pamphlet called Some Few Remarks upon a Scandalous Book against the Gospel and Ministry of New England, written by one Robert Calef. It was signed by seven, one of them John Goodwin; but the materials were furnished by their pastors. It aimed however at their personal exculpation, and has small interest for the public story.[155]

The doughty merchant survived the storm. In 1702-1704 he served his townsmen as an overseer of the poor, in 1707


was chosen an assessor, in 1710 a tithingman. It was perhaps about this time that he retired to Roxbury, where in 1707 he had bought a place and where he was a selectman of the town when, in 1719, death found him. There, in the old burial ground just opposite his home, a stone still testifies that “Here lyes buried the body of Mr. Robert Calef, aged seventy-one years, died April the Thirteenth, 1719.” [156]

Calef's book has been five times reprinted: in 1796, at Salem, by William Carlton (12°, pp. 318); again at Salem, in 1823, a mere reimpression, with the addition, from the court files, of Giles Corey's examination (12°, pp. 312); in Boston, 1828 (24°, pp. 333), again a reimpression; at Salem, 1861, edited by Mr. S. P. Fowler, with Cotton Mather's Wonders, in his volume Salem Witchcraft (see p. 207); and, more faithfully, in 1866 at Roxbury, as nos. VI., VII., of Woodward's Historical Series, under the editorship of S. G. Drake (see pp. 207-208). The present text follows the original edition (1700), but corrects it by the list of Errata to be found in the copy (once Cotton Mather's) possessed by the Massachusetts Historical Society.[157]



S. G. Drake, in the introduction to his edition of Calef, would make his age 14; but the genealogist of the family, Mr. Matthew A. Stickney, says 18. Yet Mr. Stickney urges the father's authorship (N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXX. 461; XLIX. 224). He died in 1894, leaving this genealogy, alas, unpublished, and his heirs decline to let it be consulted.


Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 1858, p. 288.


Thus in 1706 “Robt. Calef, Jun.,” was chosen a clerk of the market (Boston Record Commissioners' Reports, VIII. 36); thus in 1708 “Robert Calef, junr.” becomes a constable (id., VIII. 45), and gains permission to erect a house (id., XI. 68, XXIX. 187); thus, too, in that year (see plate) he signs himself “Ro. Calfe Jnr”; thus in 1710 “Robert Calfe, Jr.,” appears on the rolls of the Artillery Company (N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXXVIII. 341); and it is after his father's death that (see plate) in 1719 to a receipted account, in 1721 to his will, in 1722 to the release of a mortgage, he signed “Rob Calfe”, “Ro: Calfe”, “Robert Calfe” (see the last two in Drake's Witchcraft Delusion, II. xxii, xxiv).


From the author of More Wonders we have two unquestionable autographs: (1) his marginalia of 1695 on Cotton Mather's paper (see below, p. 306, note 1) and (2) a letter of 1700 presenting a copy of his book to the Earl of Bellomont, then governor of Massachusetts and New York. A page of the former is to be photographed in the Massachusetts Historical Society's Proceedings for 1913-1914; and the latter (now in the New York Public Library) is reproduced in full in the Memorial History of Boston (II. 168). Specimens of both are given in our own plate; and to these are added (1) the signature “Robert Calef” from the report of two appraisers, October 30, 1693; (2) the signature “Robt. Calef” from the verdict of a Boston coroner's jury, January 15, 1696; (3) the same signature, with a line or two of text in the same hand, from the decision of two arbitrators (Boston, July 29, 1697); and (4) the last lines and the signature of a paper drawn by “Robt. Calef” as a selectman of Roxbury in March, 1717 (?). That all six specimens are in the same hand, and in a hand different from the younger Calef's, will hardly be questioned. Is not the older Robert, too, more likely than the younger to have been an appraiser in 1693, a coroner's juror in 1696, and an arbiter in 1697? And (though Calef and Calfe were undoubtedly pronounced alike or nearly so) is it not less probable that the author of More Wonders changed the habitual spelling of his signature than that a younger Robert, if not the author, should thus have distinguished his identity from his father's? What arguments led the genealogist Stickney to ascribe the book to the father cannot now be learned: the “full statement of the reasons” promised by him to the N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register (see XXX. 461) was, like his genealogy, never published. But, from an article on “Robert Calef” by Mr. W. S. Harris in the Granite Monthly for 1907 (XXXIX. 157-163), and from correspondence with its author, it is learned that another student of the Calef pedigree (Mr. W. W. Lunt, of Hingham, Mass.) has reached that result by a comparison of handwritings. Mr. Harris, it should be added, quotes the Rev. John Kelly as saying in a funeral sermon (1808) for Judge John Calfe (b. 1740) of Hampstead, N. H., that the latter's ancestor (who was the elder Calef, not the younger) was the author of the book.


In 1701 Cotton Mather calls him “the Weaver (though he presumes to call himself Merchant)” (Some Few Remarks, p. 35).


Eliot, Biographical Dictionary (1809), s. v. “Calef.”


Let any who would know the contents of the excessively rare little booklet turn to the works of Upham and Poole mentioned on p. 91; and in his Diary (I. 383-384) Mather narrates how the book was compiled. The More Wonders it describes as “a Libellous Book lately come into this Countrey... which is writ (with what help we know not) by one Robert Calef, who presumes to call himself Merchant of Boston.” “It was highly rejoicing to us,” add the writers, “when we heard that our Booksellers were so well acquainted with the Integrity of our Pastors, as that not one of them could admit of any of those Libels to be vended in their shops.” Pp. 34-50 of its seventy-one pages are taken up by a letter of Cotton Mather to the authors. It was perhaps a passage in Mather's letter that led “E. P.” to think Robert Calef a “young man”; for those words, in italics and with capital initials, stare from a sentence so obscure that to a hasty glance Calef, instead of Mather himself, might easily seem to be meant.


For these and other personal details see Drake's memoir, in his ed. of Calef, and his History and Antiquities of Boston, pp. 529, 531; Boston Record Commissioners' Reports, I. 156, 160, VII. 210, 218, 225, 229, VIII. 24, 26, 31, 33, 41, 43, 75, IX. 179, 195, XI. 145; Memorial History of Boston, IV. 652; F. S. Drake, The Town of Roxbury (Boston, 1905), pp. 102, 140-149; N. E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XIV. 52; and the above-cited article of W. S. Harris, which has a photograph of the gravestone. From these mentions will be learned also the name of his wife, Mary, and of the two of his eight children who were born (1688, 1691) after his coming to Boston. It will be learned, too, that in 1692 he was a constable, in 1694 hayward and fenceviewer, in 1697 a surveyor of highways, in 1698 a clerk of the market. At least it is to “Robert Calef,” not to “Robert Calef, Jr.,” that the records award these offices. And it is perhaps to be noticed that while the name of “Robert Calef” is often preceded by “Mr.”, that title does not appear before that of “Robert Calef, Jr.”


See Drake's ed., III. 223.



More Wonders of the Invisible World: Or, The Wonders of the Invisible World, Display'd in Five Parts.

Part I. An Account of the Sufferings of Margaret Rule, Written by the Reverend Mr. C. M.

P. II. Several Letters to the Author, etc. And his Reply relating to Witchcraft.

P. III. The Differences between the Inhabitants of Salem Village, and Mr. Parris their Minister, in New-England.

P. IV. Letters of a Gentleman uninterested, Endeavouring to prove the received Opinions about Witchcraft to be Orthodox. With short Essays to their Answers.

P. V. A short Historical Accou[n]t of Matters of Fact in that Affair.

To which is added, A Postscript relating to a Book intitled, The Life of Sir William Phips.

Collected by Robert Calef, Merchant, of Boston in New-England. Licensed and Entred according to Order.

London: Printed for Nath. Hillar, at the Princes-Arms, in Leaden-Hall-street, over against St. Mary-Ax, and Joseph Collyer, at the Golden-Bible, on London-Bridge. 1700.[158]



Title-page of original.

The Epistle to the Reader, And more especially to the Noble Bereans[159] of this Age, wherever Residing.


You that are freed from the Slavery of a corrupt Education; and that in spite of human Precepts, Examples and Presidents,[160] can hearken to the Dictates of Scripture and Reason:


For your sakes I am content, that these Collections of mine, as also my Sentiments should be exposed to publick view; In hopes that having well considered, and compared them with Scripture, you will see reason, as I do, to question a belief so prevalent (as that here treated of) as also the practice flowing from thence; they standing as nearly connext as cause and effect; it being found wholly impracticable, to extirpate the latter without first curing the former.

And if the Buffoon or Satyrical will be exercising their Talents, or if the Biggots wilfully and blindly reject the Testimonies of their own Reason, and more sure word, it is no more than what I expected from them.

But you Gentlemen, I doubt not, are willing to Distinguish between Truth and Error, and if this may be any furtherance to you herein, I shall not miss my Aim.

But if you find the contrary, and that my belief herein is any way Heterodox, I shall be thankful for the Information to any Learned or Reverend Person, or others, that shall take that pains to inform me better by Scripture, or sound Reason, which is what I have been long seeking for in this Country in vain.

In a time when not only England in particular, but almost all Europe had been labouring against the Usurpations of Tyranny and Slavery, The English America has not been behind in a share in the Common calamities; more especially New-England has met not only with such calamities as are common to the rest, but with several aggravations enhansing such Afflictions, by the Devastations and Cruelties of the Barbarous Indians in their Eastern borders, etc.

But this is not all, they have been harrast (on many accounts) by a more dreadful Enemy, as will herein appear to the considerate.

P. 66.[161] Were it as we are told in Wonders of the Invisible World, that the Devils were walking about our Streets with


lengthned Chains making a dreadful noise in our Ears, and Brimstone, even without a Metaphor, was making a horrid and a hellish stench in our Nostrils,

P. 49. And that the Devil exhibiting himself ordinarily as a black-Man,[162] had decoy'd a fearful knot of Proud, Froward, Ignorant, Envious and Malitious Creatures, to list themselves in his horrid Service, by entring their Names in a Book tendered unto them; and that they have had their Meetings and Sacraments, and associated themselves to destroy the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, in these parts of the World; having each of them their Spectres, or Devils Commissionated by them, and representing of them, to be the Engines of their Malice, by these wicked Spectres siezing poor People about the Country with various and bloody Torments. And of those evidently preternatural Torments some to[o] have died. And that they have bewitched some even so far, as to make them self destroyers, and others in many Towns here and there languish'd under their evil hands. The People thus afflicted miserably scratch'd and bitten; and that the same Invisible Furies did stick Pins in them, and scald them, distort and disjoint them, with a Thousand other Plagues; and sometimes drag them out of their Chambers, and carry them over Trees and Hills Miles together, many of them being tempted to sign the Devils Laws.

P. 7[0]. These furies whereof several have killed more People perhaps than would serve to make a Village.[163]

If this be the true state of the Afflictions of this Country, it is very deplorable, and beyond all other outward Calamities miserable. But if on the other side, the Matter be as others do understand it, That the Devil has been too hard for us by his Temptations, signs, and lying Wonders, with the help of pernicious notions, formerly imbibed and professed; together with the Accusations of a parcel of possessed, distracted, or lying Wenches, accusing their Innocent Neighbours, pretending they see their Spectres (i. e.) Devils in their likeness Afflicting of them, and that God in righteous Judgment (after Men


had ascribed his Power to Witches, of Commissionating Devils to do these things) may have given them over to strong delusions to believe lyes, etc. And to let loose the Devils of Envy, Hatred, Pride, Cruelty, and Malice against each other; yet still disguised under the Mask of Zeal for God, and left them to the branding one another with the odious Name of Witch; and upon the Accusation of those above mentioned, Brother to Accuse and Prosecute Brother, Children their Parents, Pastors and Teachers their immediate Flock unto death; Shepherds becoming Wolves, Wise Men Infatuated; People hauled to Prisons, with a bloody noise pursuing to, and insulting over, the (true) Sufferers at Execution, while some are fleeing from that call'd Justice, Justice it self fleeing before such Accusations, when once it did but begin to refrain further proceedings, and to question such Practises, some making their Escape out of Prisons, rather than by an obstinate Defence of their Innocency, to run so apparent hazard of their Lives; Estates seized, Families of Children and others left to the Mercy of the Wilderness (not to mention here the Numbers prescribed,[164] dead in Prisons, or Executed, etc.)

All which Tragedies, tho begun in one Town, or rather by one Parish, has Plague-like spread more than through that Country. And by its Eccho giving a brand of Infamy to this whole Country, throughout the World,

If this were the Miserable case of this Country in the time thereof, and that the Devil had so far prevailed upon us in our Sentiments and Actions, as to draw us from so much as looking into the Scriptures for our guidance in these pretended Intricacies, leading us to a trusting in blind guides, such as the corrupt practices of some other Countries, or the bloody Experiments of Bodin, and such other Authors — Then tho our Case be most miserable, yet it must be said of New-England, Thou has destroyed thy self, and brought this greatest of Miseries upon thee.

And now whether the Witches (such as have made a compact by Explicit Covenant with the Devil, having thereby obtained a power to Commissionate him) have been the cause of our miseries,

Or whether a Zeal governed by blindness and passion, and


led by president, has not herein precipitated us into far greater wickedness (if not Witchcrafts) than any have been yet proved against those that suffered,

To be able to distinguish aright in this matter, to which of these two to refer our Miseries is the present Work. As to the former, I know of no sober Man, much less Reverend Christian, that being ask'd dares affirm and abide by it, that Witches have that power; viz. to Commissionate Devils to kill and destroy. And as to the latter, it were well if there were not too much of truth in it, which remains to be demonstrated.

But here it will be said, what need of Raking in the Coals that lay buried in oblivion. We cannot recall those to Life again that have suffered, supposing it were unjustly; it tends but to the exposing the Actors, as if they had proceeded irregularly.

Truly I take this to be just as the Devil would have it, so much to fear disobliging men, as not to endeavour to detect his Wiles, that so he may the sooner, and with the greater Advantages set the same on foot again (either here or else where) so dragging us through the Pond twice by the same Cat.[165] And if Reports do not (herein) deceive us, much the same has been acting this present year in Scotland.[166] And what Kingdom or Country is it, that has not had their bloody fits and turns at it. And if this is such a catching disease, and so universal, I presume I need make no Apology for my Endeavours to prevent, as far as in my power, any more such bloody Victims or Sacrifices; tho indeed I had rather any other would


have undertaken so offensive, tho necessary a task; yet all things weighed, I had rather thus Expose my self to Censure, than that it should be wholly omitted. Were the notions in question innocent and harmless, respecting the Glory of God, and well being of Men, I should not have engaged in them, but finding them in my esteem so intollerably destructive of both, This together with my being by Warrant called before the Justices, in my own Just Vindication, I took it to be a call from God, to my Power,[167] to Vindicate his Truths, against the Pagan and Popish Assertions, which are so prevalent; for tho Christians in general do own the Scriptures to be their only Rule of Faith and Doctrine, yet these Notions will tell us, that the Scriptures have not sufficiently, nor at all described the crime of Witchcraft, whereby the culpable might be detected, tho it be positive in the Command to punish it by Death; hence the World has been from time to time perplext in the prosecution of the several Diabolical mediums of Heathenish and Popish Invention, to detect an Imaginary Crime (not but that there are Witches, such as the Law of God describes) which has produced a deluge of Blood; hereby rendering the Commands of God not only void but dangerous.

So also they own Gods Providence and Government of the World, and that Tempests and Storms, Afflictions and Diseases, are of his sending; yet these Notions tell us, that the Devil has the power of all these, and can perform them when commission'd by a Witch thereto, and that he has a power at the Witches call to act and do, without and against the course of Nature, and all natural causes, in afflicting and killing of Innocents; and this is that so many have died for.

Also it is generally believed, that if any Man has strength, it is from God the Almighty Being: But these notions will tell us, that the Devil can make one Man as strong as many, which was one of the best proofs, as it was counted, against Mr. Burroughs the Minister;[168] tho his contemporaries in the Schools during his Minority could have testified, that his strength was then as much superiour to theirs as ever (setting aside incredible Romances) it was discovered to be since. Thus rendring the power of God, and his providence of none Effect.


These are some of the destructive notions of this Age, and however the asserters of them seem sometimes to value themselves much upon sheltring their Neighbours from Spectral Accusations, They may deserve as much thanks as that Tyrant, that having industriously obtained an unintelligible charge against his Subjects, in matters wherein it was impossible they should be Guilty, having thereby their lives in his power, yet suffers them of his meer Grace to live, and will be call'd gracious Lord.

It were too Icarian[169] a task for one unfurnish'd with necessary learning, and Library, to give any Just account, from whence so great delusions have sprung, and so long continued. Yet as an Essay from those scraps of reading that I have had opportunity of, it will be no great venture to say, that Signs and Lying Wonders have been one principal cause.[170]

It is written of Justin Martyr, who lived in the second Century, that he was before his conversion a great Philosopher; first in the way of the Stoicks, and after of the Peripateticks, after that of the Pythagorean, and after that of the Platonists sects; and after all proved of Eminent use in the Church of Christ; Yet a certain Author speaking of one Apollonius Tyaneus[171] has these words, “That the most Orthodox themselves began to deem him vested with power sufficient for a Deity; which occasioned that so strange a doubt from Justin Martyr, as cited by the learned Gregory, Fol. 37.,[172] etc. If God be the Creator and Lord of the World, how comes it to pass that Apollonius his Telisms,[173] have so much over-ruled the course of things! for we see that they also have stilled the Waves of the Sea, and the raging of the Winds, and prevailed against the Noisome Flies, and Incursions of wild Beasts,” etc. If so Eminent and Early a Christian were by these false shews in such doubt, it is the less wonder in our


depraved times, to meet with what is Equivalent thereto: Besides this a certain Author informs me, that “Julian (afterwards called the Apostate) being instructed in the Philosophy and Disciplines of the Heathen, by Libarius[174] his Tutor, by this means he came to love Philosophy better than the Gospel, and so by degrees turn'd from Christianity to Heathenism.”

This same Julian did, when Apostate, forbid that Christians should be instructed in the Discipline of the Gentiles, which (it seems) Socrates a Writer of the Ecclesiastical History, does acknowledge to be by the singular Providence of God; Christians having then begun to degenerate from the Gospel, and to betake themselves to Heathenish learning. And in the Mercury for the Month of February, 1695, there is this Account, “That the Christian Doctors conversing much with the writings of the Heathen, for the gaining of Eloquence, A Counsel[175] was held at Carthage, which forbad the reading of the Books of the Gentiles.”

From all which it may be easily perceived, that in the Primitive times of Christianity, when not only many Heathen of the Vulgar, but also many learn'd Men and Philosophers had imbraced the Christian Faith, they still retained a love to their Heathen-learning, which as one observes being transplanted into a Christian soile, soon proved productive of pernicious weeds, which over-ran the face of the Church, hence it was so deformed as the Reformation found it.

Among other pernicious Weeds arising from this Root, the Doctrine of the power of Devils and Witchcraft as it is now, and long has been understood, is not the least; the Fables of Homer, Virgil, Horace and Ovid, etc., being for the Elegancy of their Language retained then (and so are to this day) in the schools, have not only introduced, but established such Doctrines to the poisoning the Christian World. A certain Author Expresses it thus, “that as the Christian Schools at first brought Men from Heathenism to the Gospel, so these Schools carry Men from the Gospel to Heathenism, as to their great perfection,” and Mr. I. M.[176] in his Remarkable Providences, gives an account that (as he calls it) an Old Counsel[177] did


Anathematize all those that believed such power of the Devils, accounting it a Damnable Doctrine. But as other Evils did afterwards increase in the Church (partly by such Education) so this insensibly grew up with them, tho not to that degree, as that any Counsel[178] I have ever heard or Read of has to this day taken off those Anathema's; yet after this the Church so far declined, that Witchcraft became a Principal Ecclesiastical Engine (as also that of Heresie was) to root up all that stood in their way; and besides the ways of Tryal that we have still in practice, they invented some, which were peculiar to themselves; which when ever they were minded to improve against any Orthodox believer, they could easily make Effectual: That Deluge of Blood which that Scarlet Whore[179] has to answer for, shed under this notion, how amazing is it.

The first in England that I have read of, of any note since the Reformation, that asserts this Doctrine, is the famous Mr. Perkins,[180] he (as also Mr. Gaul,[181] and Mr. Bernard,[182] etc. seems all of them to have undertaken one Task, they) taking notice of the Multiplicity of irregular ways to try them by, invented by Heathen and Papists, made it their business and main work herein to oppose such as they saw to be pernicious. And if they did not look more narrowly into it, but followed the first, viz. Mr. Perkins whose Education (as theirs also) had


forestall'd him into such belief, whom they readily followed, it cannot be wondered at: And that they were men liable to Err, and so not to be trusted to as perfect guides, will manifestly appear to him that shall see their several receits laid down to detect them by their Presumptive and Positive ones. And consider how few of either have any foundation in Scripture or Reason; and how vastly they differ from each other in both, each having his Art by himself, which Forty or an Hundred more may as well imitate, and give theirs, ad infinitum, being without all manner of proof.

But tho this be their main design to take off People from those Evil and bloody ways of trial which they speak so much against, Yet this does not hinder to this day, but the same evil ways or as bad are still used to detect them by, and that even among Protestants; and is so far Justified, that a Reverend Person has said lately here, how else shall we detect Witches? And another being urged to prove by Scripture such a sort of Witch as has power to send Devils to kill men, replied, that he did as firmly believe it as any article of his Faith. And that he (the Inquirer) did not go to the Scripture, to learn the Mysteries of his trade or Art. What can be said more to Establish there Heathenish notions and to villifie the Scriptures, our only Rule; and that after we have seen such dire effects thereof, as has threatned the utter Extirpation of this whole Country.

And as to most of the Actors in these Tragedies, tho they are so far from defending their Actions that they will Readily own, that undue steps have been taken, etc., Yet it seems they choose that the same should be Acted over again inforced by their Example, rather than that it should Remain as a Warning to Posterity, wherein they have mist it. So far are they from giving Glory to God, and taking the due shame to themselves.

And now to sum up all in a few words, we have seen a Biggotted Zeal, stirring up a Blind and most Bloody rage, not against Enemies, or Irreligious Proffligate Persons, But (in Judgment of Charity, and to view) against as Vertuous and Religious as any they have left behind them in this Country, which have suffered as Evil doers with the utmost extent of rigour (not that so high a Charactor is due to all that Suffered)


and this by the Testimony of Vile Varlets as not only were known before, but have been further apparent since by their Manifest Lives, Whordoms, Incest, etc. The Accusations of these, from their Spectral Sight, being the chief Evidence against those that Suffered. In which Accusations they were upheld by both Magistrates and Ministers, so long as they Apprehended themselves in no Danger.

And then tho they could defend neither the Doctrine, nor the Practice, yet none of them have in such a publick manner as the case Requires, testified against either; tho at the same time they could not but be sensible what a Stain and lasting Infamy they have brought upon the whole Country, to the Indangering the future welfair not only of this but of other places, induced by their Example; if not, to an intailing the Guilt of all the Righteous Blood that has been by the same means Shed, by Heathen or Papists, etc., upon themselves, whose deeds they have so far justified, occasioning the great Dishonour and Blasphemy of the Name of God, Scandalizing the Heathen, hardning of Enemies; and as a Natural effect thereof, to the great Increase of Atheism.

I shall conclude only with acquainting the Reader, that of these Collections, the first, containing more Wonders of the Invisible World, I received of a Gentleman,[183] who had it of the Author and communicated it to me,[184] with his express consent, of which this is a true Copy.[185] As to the Letters, they


are for Substance the same I sent, tho with some small Variation or Addition. Touching the two Letters from a Gentleman, at his request I have forborn naming him. It is great Pity the matters of Fact, and indeed the whole, had not been done by some abler hand better Accomplished and Advantaged with both natural and acquired Judgments, but others not Appearing, I have inforc'd my self to do what is done, my other occasions Will not admit any further Scrutiny therein.

R. C.



I now lay before you a very Entertaining Story, a Story which relates yet more Wonders of the Invisible World,[186] a Story which tells the Remarkable Afflictions and Deliverance of one that had been Prodigiously handled by the Evil Angels. I was my self a daily Eye Witness to a large part of these Occurrences, and there may be produced Scores of Substantial Witnesses to the most of them; yea, I know not of any one Passage of the Story, but what may be sufficiently Attested. I do not Write it with a design of throwing it presently into the Press, but only to preserve the Memory of such Memorable things, the forgetting whereof would neither be pleasing to God, nor useful to Men; as also to give you, with some others of peculiar and obliging Friends, a sight of some Curiosities, and I hope this Apologie will serve to Excuse me, if I mention, as perhaps I may, when I come to a tenth Paragraph in my Writing,[187] some things which I would have omitted in a farther Publication.

Cotton Mather.[188]



I. e., to those with open minds: the Bereans are commended (Acts xvii. 11) as “more noble” because “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.”


Precedents: this odd spelling was then the current one.


This page-number and those which follow refer to the pages of Mather's Wonders (original edition), from which the substance of these paragraphs is quoted. The passages quoted will be found in Mather's book at pp. 48, 41, 50, of the first London edition, at pp. 95, 80-82, 100, of that of 1862, at pp. 121-122, 102-104, 128, of the American edition of 1866. They do not belong to the pages reprinted in the present volume.


How Mather conceived this “black man” to look appears from the description he ascribes to Mercy Short (p. 261, above).


In the original there is here no paragraph, the paragraph beginning after the next sentence with “But, if,” etc.


“Prescribed,” as then often, for “proscribed,” i. e., condemned to death.


For a description of the joke, played on boobies, of “dragging through a pond with a cat,” see the Oxford Dictionary, s. v. Cat, III. 14, or Grose, Dictionary of Vulgar Terms, s. v. “Cat-whipping.” “We hope, sir,” said in 1682 the London Gazette, “that this Nation will be too wise, to be drawn twice through the same Water by the very same Cat.”


As Calef is writing in August, 1697, he doubtless has in mind the cases in Renfrewshire, where on June 10 several witches were hanged, then burned, on the Gallow Green of Paisley; a “Relation” then printed recounts “the Diabolical Practices of above Twenty.” Neither the relation nor the tidings of the burning could well have reached America by August 11; but the trials had been notorious for months. In Scotland, however, such things had been constant, as may be seen by the records of the Privy Council. Those of this period are chronicled by Robert Chambers in his Domestic Annals of Scotland.


I. e., to the utmost of my power.


See pp. 219-220, above.


I. e., presumptuous, like the venture of Icarus, who flew so high that the sun melted off his wings.


He is thinking, of course, of such “Remarkables” as those told by the Mathers.


Apollonius of Tyana, the first-century Pythagorean philosopher and wonder-worker, like Justin Martyr, the second-century apologist of Christianity, is perhaps too well to need a footnote.


Justin Martyr, Quaestiones et Responsiones ad Orthodoxos, qu. 24.


Telesmata, talismans, magical devices.




Council: the Fourth Council of Carthage, 398 A. D.


Increase Mather.


Council: the Spanish Council of Bracara, 561 A. D.




He means the Roman church. Revelation, xvii.


William Perkins (1558-1602), the eminent Cambridge divine — “our Perkins,” as Increase Mather calls him — whose Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft (London, 1608, 1610, and in the many editions of his Works) was the highest authority to Puritans.


John Gaule. See p. 216, note 1.


Richard Bernard (1567-1641), long minister of Batcombe in Somersetshire. His Guide to Grand-Jurymen... in cases of Witchcraft (1627, 1629) was, though credulous and cruel enough, the most mild and cautious of the Puritan monographs. The tiny volume, now very rare, had perhaps never a great circulation (in 1692 Increase Mather declares it, like Gaule's book, “rare to be had”); but its rules for the detection of witches gained much vogue from their adoption by Michael Dalton into his The Countrey Justice, the standard manual for the procedure of the lower courts. It is clearly, however, from Bernard's book itself that Cotton Mather has abridged these rules in his Wonders; and the book, as well as this extract, was doubtless in the hands of the Salem judges. Increase Mather quotes it often, and by page, and tells us that it “is a solid and a wise treatise.” (Cases of Conscience, 1693, p. 18.)


It has been conjectured that this gentleman may have been one of the two Brattles. In a letter of March 1, 1695 (More Wonders, p. 30 — not here reprinted), to a “Mr. B.” (Brattle?) Calef mentions other papers received from Mather through his hands — but to be returned speedily and not copied. He, however, he says, made notes in the margin where he thought it needful. These papers, as it will rejoice all students to learn, have just been identified by Mr. Worthington C. Ford (to whose courtesy the editor owes his knowledge of them) among those in the keeping of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and they will be published in full — both Mather's text and Calef's marginalia (with a facsimile plate) in that society's Proceedings for 1913-1914. See also below, p. 388, at end.


The original has “use”; but this is corrected to “me” in the Errata (see p. 295, above).


A copy, not of the “express consent,” but of the “More Wonders of the Invisible World” — the Margaret Rule story as a whole — to which the letter of Mather introducing it was perhaps attached as a sort of open “letter to the reader.” Between this preface and that letter there intervenes a table of contents, not here reprinted.


It is, in other words, a supplement to his book thus entitled, as its other name, “Another Brand pluckt out of the Burning,” makes it a supplement to his Mercy Short narrative.


See his “Sect. 10” (pp. 316-318, below).


As to this letter see p. 306, note 3. The Margaret Rule MS. is still preserved in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society; and Poole, who used it for his chapter on witchcraft in the Memorial History of Boston, has in a footnote (II. 152) printed a facsimile of the “To bee Return'd unto C. Mather” written on it by its author.



Section I. The Afflictions of Margaret Rule.

Within these few years there died in the Southern Parts a Christian Indian, who notwithstanding some of his Indian Weakness, had something of a better Character of vertue and Goodness, than many of our People can allow to most of their Countrey-men, that profess the Christian Religion. He had been a Zealous Preacher of the Gospel to his Neighbour-hood, and a sort of Overseer, or Officer, to whose Conduct was owing very much of what good order was maintained among those Proselited Savages: This Man returning home from the Funeral of his Son, was Complemented by an English-Man, expressing Sorrow for his Loss; now, tho' the Indians use, upon the Death of Relations, to be the most Passionate and Outragious Creatures in the World, yet this Converted Indian Handsomely and Chearfully repli'd, “Truly I am sorry, and I am not sorry; I am sorry that I have Buried a dear Son; but I am not sorry that the will of God is done. I know that without the will of God my Son could not have Died, and I know that the will of God is allways just and good, and so I am satisfied.” Immediately upon this, even within a few hours, he fell himself Sick of a Disease that quickly kill'd him; in the time of which Disease he called his Folks about him, earnestly perswading them to be Sincere in their Praying unto God, and beware of the Drunkenness, the Idleness, the Lying, whereby so many of that Nation disgrac'd their Profession of Christianity; adding, that he was ashamed when he thought how little Service he had hitherto done for God; and that if God would prolong his Life he would Labour to do better Service, but that he was fully sure he was now going to the Lord Jesus Christ, who had bought him with his own Precious Blood; and for his part he long'd to Die that he might be with his Glorious Lord; and in the mid'st of such passages he gave up


the Ghost, but in such repute, that the English People of good Fashion did not think much of Travelling a great way to his Interment. Lest my Reader do now wonder why I have related this piece of a Story, I will now hasten to abate that Wonder, by telling that whereto this was intended, but for an Introduction: Know then that this remarkable Indian being a little before he Died at work in the Wood making of Tarr, there appeared unto him a Black-Man, of a Terrible aspect, and more than humane Dimensions, threatning bitterly to kill him if he would not promise to leave off Preaching as he did to his Countrey-Men, and promise particularly, that if he Preached any more, he would say nothing of Jesus Christ unto them. The Indian amaz'd, yet had the courage to answer, I will in spite of you go on to Preach Christ more than ever I did, and the God whom I serve will keep me that you shall never hurt me. Hereupon the Apparition abating somewhat of his fierceness, offered to the Indian a Book of a considerable thickness and a Pen and Ink, and said, that if he would now set his hand unto that Book, he would require nothing further of him; but the Man refused the motion with indignation, and fell down upon his knees into a Fervent and Pious Prayer unto God for help against the Tempter, whereupon the Dæmon Vanish't.

This is a Story which I would never have tendered unto my Reader, if I had not Receiv'd it from an honest and useful English Man, who is at this time a Preacher of the Gospel to the Indians,[189] nor would the probable[190] Truth of it have encouraged me to have tendered it, if this also had not been a fit introduction unto yet a further Narrative.

Sect. 2. 'Twas not much above a year or two, after this Accident (of which no manner of Noise has been made) that there was a Prodigious descent of Devils upon divers places near the Center of this Province, wherein some scores of Mis


erable People were Troubled by horrible appearances of a Black-Man, accompanied with Spectres, wearing these and those Humane Shapes, who offer'd them a Book to be by them sign'd, in token of their being Listed for the Service of the Devil, and upon their denying to do it, they were Dragoon'd[191] with a thousand Preternatural Torments, which gave no little terror to the beholders of these unhappy Energuments.[192] There was one in the North part of Boston seized by the Evil-Angels many Months after the General Storm of the late Inchantments was over, and when the Countrey had long lain pretty quiet, both as to Molestations and Accusations from the Invisible World, her Name was Margaret Rule, a Young Woman. She was born of sober and honest Parents, yet Living, but what her own Character was before her Visitation, I can speak with the less confidence of exactness, because I observe that wherever the Devils have been let loose to worry any Poor Creature amongst us, a great part of the Neighbourhood presently set themselves to inquire and relate all the little Vanities of their Childhood, with such unequal exaggerations, as to make them appear greater Sinners than any whom the Pilate of Hell has not yet Preyed upon: But it is affirm'd, that for about half a year before her Visitation, she was observably improved in the hopeful symptoms of a new Creature; She was become seriously concern'd for the everlasting Salvation of her Soul, and careful to avoid the snares of Evil Company. This Young Woman had never seen the affliction of Mercy Short, whereof a Narrative has been already given,[193] and yet about half a year after the glorious and signal deliverance of that poor Damsel, this Margaret fell into an affliction, marvellous, resembling hers in almost all the circumstances of it, indeed the Afflictions were so much alike, that the relation I have given of the one, would almost serve as the full History of the other, this was to that, little more than the second part to the same Tune, indeed Margarets case was in several points less remarkable than Mercies, and in some other things the Entertainment did a little vary.

Sect. 3. 'Twas upon the Lords Day the 10th of September, in the Year 1693, that Margaret Rule, after some hours of previous disturbance in the Publick Assembly, fell into odd


Fits, which caused her Friends to carry her home, where her Fits in a few hours grew into a Figure that satisfied the Spectators of their being preternatural; some of the Neighbours were forward enough to suspect the rise of this Mischief in an House hard-by, where lived a Miserable Woman, who had been formerly Imprisoned on the suspicion of Witchcraft, and who had frequently Cured very painfull Hurts by muttering over them certain Charms, which I shall not indanger the Poysoning of my Reader by repeating. This Woman had the Evening before Margaret fell into her Calamities, very bitterly treated her, and threatn'd her; but the hazard of hurting a poor Woman that might be innocent, notwithstanding Surmizes that might have been more strongly grounded than those, caus'd the pious People in the Vicinity to try rather whether incessant Supplication to God alone, might not procure a quicker and safer Ease to the Afflicted, than hasty Prosecution of any suppos'd Criminal, and accordingly that unexceptionable course was all that was ever followed; yea, which I look't on as a token for good, the Afflicted Family was as averse as any of us all to entertain thoughts of any other course.

Sect. 4. The Young Woman was assaulted by Eight cruel Spectres, whereof she imagin'd that she knew three or four, but the rest came still with their Faces cover'd, so that she could never have a distinguishing view of the countenance of those whom she thought she knew; she was very careful of my reitterated charges to forbear blazing the Names, lest any good Person should come to suffer any blast of Reputation thro' the cunning Malice of the great Accuser; nevertheless having since privately named them to my self, I will venture to say this of them, that they are a sort of Wretches who for these many years have gone under as Violent Presumptions of Witchcraft, as perhaps any creatures yet living upon Earth; altho' I am farr from thinking that the Visions of this Young Woman were Evidence enough to prove them so. These cursed Spectres now brought unto her a Book about a Cubet long, a Book Red and thick, but not very broad, and they demanded of her that she would set her Hand to that Book, or touch it at least with her Hand, as a Sign of her becoming a Servant of the Devil; upon her peremptory refusal to do what they asked, they did not after renew the profers of the


Book unto her, but instead thereof, they fell to Tormenting of her in a manner too Hellish to be sufficiently described, in those Torments confining her to her Bed, for just Six weeks together.

Sect. 5. Sometimes, but not always, together with the Spectres there look't in upon the Young Woman (according to her account) a short and a Black Man, whom they call'd their Master, a Wight exactly of the same Dimensions and Complexion and voice, with the Divel that has exhibited himself unto other infested People, not only in other parts of this Country but also in other Countrys, even of the European World, as the relation of the Enchantments there inform us, they all profest themselves Vassals of this Devil, and in obedience unto him they address themselves unto various ways of Torturing her; accordingly she was cruelly pinch't with Invisible hands very often in a Day, and the black and blew marks of the pinches became immediately visible unto the standers by. Besides this, when her attendants had left her without so much as one pin about her, that so they might prevent some fear'd inconveniencies; yet she would ever now and then be miserably hurt with Pins which were found stuck into her Neck, Back and Arms, however, the Wounds made by the Pins would in a few minutes ordinarily be cured; she would also be strangely distorted in her Joynts, and thrown into such exorbitant Convulsions as were astonishing unto the Spectators in General; They that could behold the doleful condition of the poor Family without sensible compassions, might have Intrals indeed, but I am sure they could have no true Bowels in them.

Sect. 6. It were a most Unchristian and uncivil, yea a most unreasonable thing to imagine that the Fitt's of the Young Woman were but meer Impostures: And I believe scarce any, but People of a particular Dirtiness, will harbour such an Uncharitable Censure; however, because I know not how far the Devil may drive the Imagination of poor Creatures when he has possession of them, that at another time when they are themselves would scorn to Dissemble any thing, I shall now confine my Narrative unto passages, wherein there could be no room left for any Dissimulation. Of these the first that I'll mention shall be this; From the time that Margaret Rule


first found herself to be formally besieged by the Spectres untill the Ninth Day following, namely from the Tenth of September to the Eighteenth, she kept an entire Fast, and yet she was unto all appearance as Fresh, as Lively, as Hearty, at the Nine Days End, as before they began; in all this time, tho' she had a very eager Hunger upon her Stomach, yet if any refreshment were brought unto her, her Teeth would be set, and she would be thrown into many Miseries, Indeed once or twice or so in all this time, her Tormentors permitted her to swallow a Mouthful of somewhat that might encrease her Miseries, whereof a Spoonful of Rum was the most considerable; but otherwise, as I said, her Fast unto the Ninth day was very extream and rigid: However, afterwards there scarce passed a day wherein she had not liberty to take something or other for her Sustentation, And I must add this further, that this business of her Fast was carried so, that it was impossible to be dissembled without a Combination of Multitudes of People unacquainted with one another to support the Juggle, but he that can imagine such a thing of a Neighbourhood so fill'd with Vertuous People is a base man, I cannot call him any other.

Sect. 7. But if the Sufferings of this Young Woman were not Imposture, yet might they not be pure Distemper? I will not here inquire of our Saducees, what sort of Distemper 'tis shall stick the Body full of Pins, without any Hand that could be seen to stick them; or whether all the Pin-makers in the World would be willing to be Evaporated into certain ill habits of Body producing a Distemper, but of the Distemper my Reader shall be Judge when I have told him something further of those unusual Sufferings. I do believe that the Evil Angels do often take Advantage from Natural Distempers in the Children of Men to annoy them with such further Mischiefs as we call preternatural. The Malignant Vapours and Humours of our Diseased Bodies may be used by Devils thereinto insinuating as engine of the Execution of their Malice upon those Bodies; and perhaps for this reason one Sex may suffer more Troubles of some kinds from the Invisible World than the other, as well as for that reason for which the Old Serpent made where he did his first Address. But I Pray what will you say to this, Margaret Rule would sometimes have her Jaws for


cibly pulled open, whereupon something Invisible would be poured down her Throat; we all saw her swallow, and yet we saw her try all she could by Spitting, Coughing and Shriking,[194] that she might not swalow, but one time the standers by plainly saw something of that odd Liquor it self on the outside of her Neck; She cried out of it as of Scalding Brimstone poured into her, and the whole House would Immediately scent so hot of Brimstone that we were scarce able to endure it, whereof there are scores of Witnesses; but the Young Woman her self would be so monstrously Inflam'd that it would have broke a Heart of Stone to have seen her Agonies. This was a thing that several times happen'd and several times when her Mouth was thus pull'd open, the standers by clapping their Hands close thereupon the distresses that otherwise followed would be diverted. Moreover there was a whitish powder to us Invisible somtimes cast upon the Eyes of this Young Woman, whereby her Eyes would be extreamly incommoded, but one time some of this Powder was fallen actually Visible upon her Cheek, from whence the People in the Room wiped it with their Handkerchiefs, and somtimes the Young Woman would also be so bitterly scorched with the unseen Sulphur thrown upon her, that very sensible Blisters would be raised upon her Skin, whereto her Friends found it necessary to apply the Oyl's proper for common Burning, but the most of these Hurts would be cured in two or three days at farthest: I think I may without Vanity pretend to have read not a few of the best System's of Physick that have been yet seen in these American Regions, but I must confess that I have never yet learned the Name of the Natural Distemper, whereto these odd symptoms do belong: However I might suggest perhaps many a Natural Medicine, which would be of singular use against many of them.

Sect. 8. But there fell out some other matters far beyond the reach of Natural Distemper: This Margaret Rule once in the middle of the Night Lamented sadly that the Spectres threatned the Drowning of a Young Man in the Neighbourhood, whom she named unto the Company: well it was afterwards found that at that very time this Young Man, having been prest on Board a Man of War then in the Harbour, was


out of some dissatisfaction attempting to swim ashoar, and he had been Drowned in the attempt, if a Boat had not seasonably taken him up; it was by computation a minute or two after the Young Womans discourse of the Drowning, that the Young Man took the Water. At another time she told us that the Spectres bragg'd and laughed in her hearing about an exploit they had lately done, by stealing from a Gentleman his Will soon after he had written it; and within a few hours after she had spoken this there came to me a Gentleman with a private complaint, that having written his Will it was unaccountably gone out of the way, how or where he could not Imagine; and besides all this, there were wonderful Noises every now and then made about the Room, which our People could Ascribe to no other Authors but the Spectres, yea, the Watchers affirm that they heard those fiends clapping of their hands together with an Audibleness, wherein they could not be Imposed upon: And once her Tormentors pull'd her up to the Cieling of the Chamber, and held her there before a very Numerous Company of Spectators, who found it as much as they could all do to pull her down again. There was also another very surprising circumstance about her, agreeable to what we have not only Read in several Histories concerning the Imps that have been Imployed in Witchcraft; but also known in some of our own afflicted: We once thought we perceived something stir upon her Pillow at a little distance from her, whereupon one present laying his hand there, he to his horror apprehended that he felt, tho' none could see it, a living Creature, not altogether unlike a Rat, which nimbly escap'd from him: and there were diverse other Persons who were thrown into a great consternation by feeling, as they Judg'd, at other times the same Invisible Animal.

Sect. 9. As it has been with a Thousand other Inchanted People, so it was with Margaret Rule in this particular, that there were several words which her Tormentors would not let her hear, especially the words Pray or Prayer, and yet she could so hear the letters of those words distinctly mentioned as to know what they ment. The standers by were forced sometimes thus in discourse to spell a word to her, but because there were some so ridiculous as to count it a sort of Spell or a Charm for any thus to accommodate themselves to the


capacity of the Sufferer, little of this kind was done. But that which was more singular in this matter, was that she could not use these words in those penetrating discourses, wherewith she would sometimes address the Spectres that were about her. She would sometimes for a long while together apply herself to the Spectres, whom she supposed the Witches, with such Exhortations to Repentance as would have melted an Heart of Adamant to have heard them; her strains of Expression and Argument were truly Extraordinary; A person perhaps of the best Education and Experience and of Attainments much beyond hers could not have exceeded them: nevertheless when she came to these Words God, Lord, Christ, Good, Repent, and some other such, her Mouth could not utter them, whereupon she would somtimes in an Angry Parenthesis complain of their Wickedness in stopping that Word, but she would then go on with some other Terms that would serve to tell what she ment. And I believe that if the most suspicious Person in the world had beheld all the Circumstances of this matter, he would have said it could not have been dissembled.

Sect. 10. Not only in the Swedish, but also in the Salem Witchcraft the Inchanted People have talked much of a White Spirit from whence they received marvellous Assistances in their Miseries; what lately befel Mercy Short from the Communications of such a Spirit, hath been the just Wonder of us all, but by such a Spirit was Margaret Rule now also visited. She says that she could never see his Face; but that she had a frequent view of his bright, Shining and Glorious Garments; he stood by her Bed-side continually heartning and comforting of her and counselling her to maintain her Faith and hope in God, and never comply with the temptations of her Adversaries; she says he told her, that God had permitted her Affictions to befall her for the everlasting and unspeakable good of her own Soul, and for the good of many others, and for his own Immortal Glory, and that she should therefore be of good Chear and be assured of a speedy deliverance; And the wonderful resolution of mind wherewith she encountered her Afflictions were but agreeable to such expectations. Moreover a Minister[195] having one Day with some Importunity Prayed for the deliverance of this Young Woman, and pleaded


that she belong'd to his Flock and charge; he had so far a right unto her as that he was to do the part of a Minister of our Lord for the bringing of her home unto God; only now the Devil hindred him in doing that which he had a right thus to do, and whereas He had a better Title unto her to bring her home to God than the Divel could have unto her to carry her away from the Lord, he therefore humbly applied himself unto God, who alone could right this matter, with a suit that she might be rescued out of Satans Hands; Immediatly upon this, tho' she heard nothing of this transaction she began to call that Minister her Father, and that was the Name whereby she every day before all sorts of People distinguished him: the occasion of it she says was this, the white Spirit presently upon this transaction did after this manner speak to her, “Margaret, you now are to take notice that” (such a Man) “is your Father, God has given you to him, do you from this time look upon him as your Father, obey him, regard him as your Father, follow his Counsels and you shall do well”; And tho' there was one passage more, which I do as little know what to make of as any of the Rest, I am now going to relate it; more than three times have I seen it fulfilled in the Deliverance of Inchanted and Possest Persons, whom the Providence of God has cast into my way, that their Deliverance could not be obtained before the third Fast kept for them, and the third day still obtain'd the Deliverance, altho' I have thought of beseeching of the Lord thrice, when buffeted by Satan, yet I must earnestly Intreat all my Readers to beware of any superstitious conceits upon the Number Three; if our God will hear us upon once Praying and Fasting before him 'tis well, and if he will not vouchsafe his Mercy upon our thrice doing so, yet we must not be so discouraged as to throw by our Devotion but if the Soveraign Grace of our God will in any particular Instances count our Patience enough tryed when we have Solemnly waited upon him for any determinate Number of times, who shall say to him, what doest thou, and if there shall be any Number of Instances, wherein this Grace of our God has exactly holden the same course, it may have a room in our humble Observations, I hope, without any Superstition; I say then that after Margaret Rule had been more than five weeks in her Miseries, this White Spirit said unto her, “Well


this day such a Man” (whom he named[196]) “has kept a third day for your deliverance, now be of good cheer you shall speedily be delivered.” I inquired whether what had been said of that Man were true, and I gained exact and certain Information that it was precisely so, but I doubt lest in relating this Passage that I have used more openness than a Friend should be treated with, and for that cause I have concealed several of the most memorable things that have occurred not only in this but in some former Histories, altho indeed I am not so well satisfied about the true nature of this white Spirit, as to count that I can do a Friend much Honour by reporting what notice this white Spirit may have thus taken of him.

Sect. 11. On the last day of the Week her Tormentors as she thought and said, approaching towards her, would be forced still to recoil and retire as unaccountably unable to meddle with her, and they would retire to the Fire side with their Poppets; but going to stick Pins into those Poppets, they could not (according to their visions) make the Pins to enter, she insulted over them with a very Proper derision, daring them now to do their worst, whilst she had the satisfaction to see their Black Master strike them and kick them, like an Overseer of so many Negro's, to make them to do their work, and renew the marks of his vengeance on them, when they failed of doing of it. At last being as it were tired with their ineffectual Attempts to mortifie her they furiously said, “Well you shant be the last.” And after a pause they added, “Go, and the Devil go with you, we can do no more”; whereupon they flew out of the Room and she returning perfectly to her self most affectionately gave thanks to God for her deliverance; her Tormentors left her extream weak and faint, and overwhelmed with Vapours, which would not only cause her sometimes to Swoon away, but also now and then for a little while discompose the reasonableness of her Thoughts; Nevertheless her former troubles returned not, but we are now waiting to see the good effects of those troubles upon the Souls of all concern'd. And now I suppose that some of our Learned witlings of the Coffee-House, for fear lest these proofs of an Invisible-world should spoil some of their sport, will endeavour to turn them all into sport, for which Buffoonary their only


pretence will be, they cant understand how such things as these could be done, whereas indeed he that is but Philosopher enough to have read but one Little Treatise, Published in the Year 1656 by no other Man than the Chyrurgion of an Army,[197] or but one Chap. of Helmont,[198] which I will not quote at this time too particularly, may give a far more intelligible account of these Appearances than most of these Blades can give why and how their Tobacco makes 'em Spit; or which way the flame of their Candle becomes illuminating. As for that cavil, the world would be undone if the Devils could have such power as they seem to have in several of our stories, it may be Answered that as to many things the Lying Devils have only known them to be done, and then pretended unto the doing of those things, but the true and best Answer is, that by these things we only see what the Devils could have powers to do, if the great God should give them those powers, whereas now our Histories affords a Glorious Evidence for the being of a God, the World would indeed be undone, and horribly undone, if these Devils, who now and then get liberty to play some very mischievous pranks, were not under a daily restraint of some Almighty Superior from doing more of such Mischiefs. Wherefore instead of all Apish flouts and jeers at Histories, which have such undoubted confirmation, as that no Man that has breeding enough to regard the Common Laws of Humane Society, will offer to doubt of 'em, it becomes us rather to adore the Goodness of God, who does not permit such things every day to befall us all, as he sometimes did permit to befall some few of our miserable Neighbours.

Sect. 12. And what, after all my unwearied Cares and


Pains, to rescue the Miserable from the Lions and Bears of Hell, which had siezed them, and after all my Studies to disappoint the Devils in their designs to confound my Neighbourhood, must I be driven to the necessity of an Apologie? Truly the hard representations wherewith some Ill Men have reviled my conduct, and the Countenance which other Men have given to these representations, oblige me to give Mankind some account of my Behaviour; No Christian can, I say none but evil workers can criminate my visiting such of my poor flock as have at any time fallen under the terrible and sensible molestations of Evil-Angels; let their Afflictions have been what they will, I could not have answered it unto my Glorious Lord, if I had withheld my just Counsels and Comforts from them; and if I have also with some exactness observ'd the methods of the Invisible-World, when they have thus become observable, I have been but a Servant of Mankind in doing so; yea no less a Person than the Venerable Baxter has more than once or twice in the most Publick manner invited Mankind to thank me for that Service.[199] I have not been insensible of a greater danger attending me in this fulfilment of my Ministry, than if I had been to take Ten Thousand steps over a Rocky Mountain fill'd with Rattle-Snakes, but I have consider'd, he that is wise will observe things, and the Surprizing Explication and confirmation of the biggest part of the Bible, which I have seen given in these things, has abundantly paid me for observing them. Now in my visiting of the Miserable, I was always of this opinion that we were Ignorant of what Powers the Devils might have to do their mischiefs in the shapes of some that had never been explicitly engaged in Diabolical Confederacies, and that therefore tho' many Witchcrafts had been fairly detected on Enquiries provoked and begun by Specteral Exhibitions, yet we could not easily be too jealous[200] of the Snares laid for us in the devices of Satan; the World knows how many Pages I have Composed and Published, and particular Gentlemen in the Government know how many Letters I have written to prevent the excessive Credit of


Specteral Accusations, wherefore I have still charged the Afflicted that they should Cry out of no body for Afflicting of 'em. But that if this might be any Advantage they might privately tell their minds to some one Person of discretion enough to make no ill use of their communications, accordingly there has been this effect of it, that the Name of No one good Person in the World ever came under any blemish by means of any Afflicted Person that fell under my particular cognisance, yea no one Man, Woman or Child ever came into any trouble for the sake of any that were Afflicted after I had once begun to look after'em; how often have I had this thrown into my dish, that many years ago I had an opportunity to have brought forth such People as have in the late storm of Witchcraft been complain'd of, but that I smother'd all, and after that storm was rais'd at Salem, I did myself offer to provide Meat, Drink and Lodging for no less than Six of the Afflicted, that so an Experiment might be made, whether Prayer with Fasting upon the removal of the distressed might not put a Period to the trouble then rising, without giving the Civil Authority the trouble of prosecuting those things which nothing but a Conscientious regard unto the cries of Miserable Families, could have overcome the Reluctancies of the Honourable Judges to meddle with; In short I do humbly but freely affirm it, there is not that Man living in this World who has been more desirous than the poor Man I to shelter my Neighbours from the Inconveniencies of Spectral Outcries, yea I am very jealous I have done so much that way as to Sin in what I have done, such have been the Cowardize and Fearfulness whereunto my regard unto the dissatisfactions of other People has precipitated me. I know a Man in the World, who has thought he has been able to Convict some such Witches as ought to Dye, but his respect unto the Publick Peace has caused him rather to try whether He could not renew them by Repentance: And as I have been Studious to defeat the Devils of their expectations to set people together by the Ears, thus, I have also checked and quell'd those forbidden curiosities, which would have given the devil an invitation to have tarried amongst us, when I have seen wonderful Snares laid for Curious People, by the secret and future things discovered from the Mouths of Damsels possest with a


Spirit of divination; Indeed I can recollect but one thing wherein there could be given so much as a Shadow of Reason for Exceptions, and that is my allowing of so many to come and see those that were Afflicted, now for that I have this to say, that I have almost a Thousand times intreated the Friends of the Miserable, that they would not permit the Intrusion of any Company, but such as by Prayers or other ways might be helpful to them; Nevertheless I have not absolutely forbid all Company from coming to your Haunted Chambers, partly because the Calamities of the Families were such as required the Assistance of many Friends; partly because I have been willing that there should be disinterested Witnesses of all sorts, to confute the Calumnies of such as would say all was but Imposture; and partly because I saw God had Sanctified the Spectacle of the Miseries on the Afflicted unto the Souls of many that were Spectators, and it is a very Glorious thing that I have now to mention — The Devils have with most horrendous operations broke in upon our Neighbourhood, and God has at such a rate over-ruled all the Fury and Malice of those Devils, that all the Afflicted have not only been Delivered, but I hope also savingly brought home unto God, and the Reputation of no one good Person in the World has been damaged, but instead thereof the Souls of many, especially of the rising Generation, have been thereby awaken'd unto some acquaintance with Religion; our young People who belonged unto the Praying Meetings, of both Sexes, a part would ordinarily spend whole Nights by the whole Weeks together in Prayers and Psalms upon these occasions, in which Devotions the Devils could get nothing but like Fools a Scourge for their own Backs, and some scores of other young People, who were strangers to real Piety, were now struck with the lively demonstrations of Hell evidently set forth before their Eyes, when they saw Persons cruelly Frighted, wounded and Starved by Devils and Scalded with burning Brimstone, and yet so preserved in this tortured estate as that at the end of one Months wretchedness they were as able still to undergo another, so that of these also it might now be said, Behold they Pray in the whole — The Devil got just nothing; but God got praises, Christ got Subjects, the Holy Spirit got Temples, the Church got Addition, and the Souls of Men got everlasting


Benefits; I am not so vain as to say that any Wisdome or Vertue of mine did contribute unto this good order of things: But I am so just, as to say I did not hinder this Good. When therefore there have been those that pickt up little incoherent scraps and bits of my Discourses in this faithful discharge of my Ministry, and so traversted[201] 'em in their abusive Pamphlets,[202] as to perswade the Town that I was their common Enemy in those very points, wherein, if in any one thing whatsoever, I have sensibly approved my self as true a Servant unto 'em as possibly I could, tho my Life and Soul had been at Stake for it, Yea to do like Satan himself, by sly, base, unpretending Insinuations, as if I wore not the Modesty and Gravity which became a Minister of the Gospel, I could not but think my self unkindly dealt withal, and the neglects of others to do me justice in this affair has caused me to conclude this Narrative with complaints in another hearing of such Monstrous Injuries.[203]



Very probably his uncle, the Rev. John Cotton (1640-1699), who had formerly preached in Martha's Vineyard (1664-1667) and had there learned the Indian tongue, and who now, at Plymouth, continued to preach to Indians as well as whites. In his life of Eliot and in bk. VI. of his Magnalia Mather relates much more of the Christian Indians of Martha's Vineyard and of the witchcrafts there.


Provable, demonstrable.


See p. 189, note 2.


Energumens: i.e., demoniacs.


See pp. 255 ff., above.


Hawking? The word is unknown to the dictionaries.


Mather himself, of course.


Again there can be little doubt that the writer means himself.


Who this “Chyrurgion” was and what his treatise, is a puzzle — as it was perhaps meant to be. Balthasar Timäus von Guldenklee (1600-1667), physician to the Elector of Brandenburg, had earned his nobility by healing the Swedish army of the pest in 1637, and in his Casus Medicinales has a passage on diseases ascribed to witchcraft; but it does not appear that this work was published before 1662. Antonius Deusing (1612-1666), physician to the Stadholder of Friesland, published in 1656 a treatise on this subject; but it does not appear that he was ever an army surgeon.


Doubtless the elder, Jan Baptista van Helmont (1577-1644), the eminent but visionary Flemish physician; and the “one Chap.” that on “Recepta injecta” in his Tractatus de Morbis — though he goes into the subject as fully in paragraphs 87-152 of his De Magnetica Vulnerum Curatione.


Notably in his own book on The Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits (London, 1691) and in the perface which he wrote for the London edition of Mather's Memorable Providences, published in that year.






See p. 332, below.


The story of Margaret Rule is told again in Mather's Diary (I. 171 ff.) and in a way that throws fresh light on his relation to the case.

“About a Week after the Beginning of September, being sollicitous to do some further Service, for the Name of God, I took a Journey to Salem. There, I not only sought a further Supply of my Furniture for my Church-History, but also endeavoured, that the complete History of the late Witchcrafts and Possessions might not bee lost. I judg'd that the Preservacion of that History might in a while bee a singular Benefit unto the Church, and unto the World, which made mee sollicitous about it. Moreover, I was willing to preach the Word of God unto the numerous Congregation at Salem; which I did, on both Parts of the Sabbath, not only with a most glorious Assistence of Heaven, but also with some Assurance of Good thereby to bee done among the People. But I had one singular Unhappiness, which befel mee, in this Journey. I had largely written three Discourses, which I designed both to preach at Salem, and hereafter to print. These Notes were before the Sabbath stolen from mee, with such Circumstances, that I am somewhat satisfied, The Spectres, or Agents in the invisible World, were the Robbers. This Diaster had like to have disturbed my Designs for the Sabbath; but God helped mee to remember a great part of what I had written, and to deliver also many other Things, which else I had not now made use of. So that the Divel gott nothing!

“Among other things which entertained mee at Salem, one was, a Discourse with one Mrs. Carver, who had been strangely visited with some shining Spirits, which were good Angels, in her opinion of them.

“She intimated several things unto mee whereof some were to be kept secret. Shee also told mee, That a new Storm of Witchcraft would fall upon the Countrey, to chastise the Iniquity that was used in the wilful Smothering and Covering of the Last; and that many fierce Opposites to the Discovery of that Witchcraft would bee thereby convinced.

“Unto my Surprise, when I came home, I found one of my Neighbours horribly arrested by evil Spirits. I then beg'd of God, that Hee would help mee wisely to discharge my Duty upon this occasion, and avoid gratifying of the evil Angels in any of their Expectations. I did then concern myself to use and gett as much Prayer as I could for the afflicted young Woman; and at the same time, to forbid, either her from accusing any of her Neighbours, or others from enquiring any thing of her. Nevertheless, a wicked Man wrote a most lying Libel to revile my Conduct in these matters; which drove mee to the Blessed God, with my Supplications that Hee would wonderfully protect mee, as well from unreasonable Men acted by the Divels, as from the Divels themselves. I did at first, it may bee, too much resent the Injuries of that Libel; but God brought good out of it; it occasioned the Multiplication of my Prayers before Him; it very much promoted the Works of Humiliation and Mortification in my Soul. Indeed, the Divel made that Libel an Occasion of those Paroxysms in the Town, that would have exceedingly gratify'd him, if God had not helped mee to forgive and forgett the Injuries done unto mee, and to bee deaf unto the Sollicitations of those that would have had mee so to have resented the Injuries of some few Persons, as to have deserted the Lecture at the Old Meeting house.

“When the afflicted young woman had undergone six Weeks of præternatural Calamities and when God had helped mee to keep just three Dayes of Prayer on her behalf, I had the Pleasure of seeing the same Success, which I used to have, on my third Fast, for such possessed People, as have been cast into my cares. God gave her a glorious Deliverance; The remarkable Circumstances whereof, I have more fully related, in an History of the whole Business.

“As for my missing Notes, the possessed young Woman, of her own Accord, enquir'd whether I missed them not? Shee told mee, the Spectres brag'd in her hearing, that they had rob't mee of them; shee added, Bee n't concern'd; for they confess, they can't keep them alwayes from you; you shall have them all brought you again. (They were Notes on Ps. 119. 19 and Ps. 90. 12 and Hag. 1. 7, 9. I was tender of them and often pray'd unto God, that they might bee return'd.) On the fifth of October following, every Leaf of my Notes again came into my Hands, tho' they were in eighteen separate Quarters of Sheets. They were found drop't here and there, about the Streets of Lyn; but how they came to bee so drop't I cannot imagine; and I as much wonder at the Exactness of their Præservation.”

And under October 10th he adds: “On this Day, I also visited a possessed young Woman in the Neighbourhood, whose Distresses were not the least occasion of my being thus before the Lord. I wrestled with God for her: and among other things, I pleaded, that God had made it my Office and Business to engage my Neighbours in the Service of the Lord Jesus Christ; and that this young Woman had expressed her Compliance with my Invitations unto that Service; only that the evil Spirits now hindred her from doing what shee had vowd: and therefore that I had a sort of Right to demand her Deliverance from these invading Divels, and to demand such a Liberty for her as might make her capable of glorifying my Glorious Lord; which I did accordingly. In the close of this Day, a wonderful Spirit, in White and bright Raiment, with a Face unseen, appeared unto this young woman, and bid her count mee her Father, and regard mee and obey mee, as her Father; for hee said, the Lord had given her to mee; and she should now within a few Dayes bee delivered. It proved, accordingly.”

And again in December (p. 178): “And one memorable Providence, I must not forgett. A young Woman being arrested, possessed, afflicted by evil Angels, her Tormentors made my Image or Picture to appear before her, and then made themselves Masters of her Tongue so far, that she began in her Fits to complain that I threatened her and molested her, tho' when shee came out of them, shee own'd, that they could not so much as make my dead Shape do her any Harm, and that they putt a Force upon her Tongue in her Exclamations. Her greatest Out-cries when shee was herself, were, for my poor Prayers to be concerned on her behalf.

“Being hereupon extremely sensible, how much a malicious Town and Land would insult over mee, if such a lying Piece of a Story should fly abroad, that the Divels in my Shape tormented the Neighbourhood, I was putt upon some Agonies, and singular Salleys and Efforts of Soul, in the Resignation of my Name unto the Lord; content that if Hee had no further service for my Name, it should bee torn to pieces with all the Reproches in the world. But I cried unto the Lord as for the Deliverance of my Name, from the Malice of Hell, so for the Deliverance of the young Woman, whom the Powers of Hell had now seized upon. And behold! Without any further Noise, the possessed Person, upon my praying by her, was delivered from her Captivity, on the very same Day that shee fell into it; and the whole Plott of the Divel, to reproach a poor Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, was defeated.”


PART II. A Letter to Mr. C. M.


Mr. Cotton Mather,

Reverend Sir, I finding it needful on many accounts, I here present you with the Copy of that Paper, which has been so much Misrepresented, to the End that what shall be found defective or not fairly Represented, if any such shall appear, they may be set right, which Runs thus.

September the 13th, 1693.

In the Evening when the Sun was withdrawn, giving place to Darkness to succeed, I with some others were drawn by curiosity to see Margaret Rule, and so much the rather because it was reported Mr. M — [205] would be there that Night: Being come to her Fathers House into the Chamber wherein she was in Bed, found her of a


healthy countenance of about seventeen Years Old, lying very still, and speaking very little, what she did say seem'd as if she were Light-headed. Then Mr. M — , Father and Son, came up and others with them, in the whole were about 30 or 40 Persons; they being sat, the Father on a Stool, and the Son upon the Bedside by her, the Son began to question her, Margaret Rule, how do you do? then a pause without any answer. Question. What, do there a great many Witches sit upon you? Answer. Yes. Q. Do you not know that there is a hard Master? Then she was in a Fit; He laid his hand upon her Face and Nose, but, as he said, without perceiving Breath; then he brush'd her on the Face with his Glove, and rubb'd her Stomach (her breast not covered with the Bed-cloaths) and bid others do so too, and said it eased her, then she revived. Q. Don't you know there is a hard Master? A. Yes. Reply; Don't serve that hard Master, you know who. Q. Do you believe? Then again she was in a Fit, and he again rub'd her Breast, etc. (about this time Margaret Perd an attendant assisted him in rubbing of her. The Afflicted spake angerely to her saying don't you meddle with me, and hastily put away her hand) he wrought his Fingers before her Eyes and asked her if she saw the Witches? A. No. Q. Do you


believe? A. Yes. Q. Do you believe in you know who? A. Yes. Q. Would you have other people do so too, to believe in you know who? A. Yes. Q. Who is it that Afflicts you? A. I know not, there is a great many of them (about this time the Father question'd if she knew the Spectres? An attendant said, if she did she would not tell; The Son proceeded) Q. You have seen the Black-man, hant[206] you? A. No. Reply; I hope you never shall. Q. You have had a Book offered you, hant you? A. No. Q. The brushing of you gives you ease, don't it? A. Yes. She turn'd her selfe and a little Groan'd. Q. Now the Witches Scratch you and Pinch you, and Bite you, don't they? A. Yes. Then he put his hand upon her Breast and Belly, viz. on the Cloaths over her, and felt a Living thing, as he said, which moved the Father also to feel, and some others; Q. Don't you feel the Live thing in the Bed? A. No. Reply, that is only Fancie. Q. the great company of People increase your Torment, don't they? A. Yes. The People about were desired to withdraw. One Woman said, I am sure I am no Witch, I will not go; so others, so none withdrew. Q. Shall we go to Prayers? Then she lay in a Fit as before. But this time to revive her, they waved a Hat and brushed her Head and Pillow therewith. Q. Shall we go to Pray, etc. Spelling the Word. A. Yes. The Father went


to Prayer for perhaps half an Hour, chiefly against the Power of the Devil and Witchcraft, and that God would bring out the Afflicters: during Prayer-time, the Son stood by, and when they thought she was in a Fit, rub'd her and brush'd her as before, and beckned to others to do the like; after Prayer he proceeded; Q. You did not hear when we were at Prayer, did you? A. Yes. Q. You dont hear always, you dont hear sometimes past a Word or two, do you? A. No. Then turning him about said, this is just another Mercy Short: Margaret Perd reply'd, she was not like her in her Fits. Q. What does she eat or drink? A. Not eat at all; but drink Rum. Then he admonished the young People to take warning, etc. Saying it was a sad thing to be so Tormented by the Devil and his Instruments: A Young-man present in the habit of a Seaman, reply'd this is the Devil all over. Than[207] the Ministers withdrew. Soon after they were gon the Afflicted desired the Women to be gone, saying, that the Company of the Men was not offensive to her, and having hold of the hand of a Young-man, said to have been her Sweet-heart formerly, who was withdrawing; She pull'd him again into his Seat, saying he should not go to Night.

September the 19th, 1693.

This Night I renew'd my Visit, and found her rather of a fresher Countenance than before, about eight Persons present with her, she was in a Fit Screeming and making a Noise: Three or four Persons rub'd and brush'd her with their hands, they said that the brushing did put them away, if they brush'd or rub'd in the right place; therefore they brush'd and rub'd in several places, and said that when they did it in the right place she could fetch her Breath, and by that they knew. She being come to her self was soon in a merry talking Fit. A Young-man came in and ask'd her how she did? She answered very bad, but at present a little better; he soon told her he must be gon and bid her good Night, at which she seem'd troubled, saying, that she liked his Company, and said she would not have him go till she was well; adding, for I shall Die when you are gon. Then she complained they did not put her on a clean Cap, but let her ly so like a Beast, saying, she should lose her Fellows. She said she wondered any People should be so Wicked as to think she was not Afflicted, but to think she Dissembled. A Young-woman answered Yes, if they were to see you in this merry Fit, they would say you Dissembled indeed; She reply'd, Mr. M — said this was her laughing time, she must laugh now: She said Mr. M — had been there this Evening, and she enquired, how long he had been gon? She said,


he stay'd alone with her in the room half an Hour, and said that he told her there were some that came for Spies, and to report about Town that she was not Afflicted. That during the said time she had no Fit, that he asked her if she knew how many times he had Prayed for her to Day? And that she answered that she could not tell; and that he replyed he had Prayed for her Nine times to Day; the Attendants said that she was sometimes in a Fit that none could open her Joynts, and that there came an Old Iron-jaw'd Woman and try'd, but could not do it; they likewise said, that her Head could not be moved from the Pillow; I try'd to move her head, and found no more difficulty than another Bodies (and so did others) but was not willing to offend by lifting it up, one being reproved for endeavouring it, they saying angrily you will break her Neck; The Attendants said Mr. M — would not go to Prayer with her when People were in the Room, as they did one Night, that Night he felt the Live Creature. Margaret Perd and another said they smelt Brimstone; I and others said we did not smell any; then they said they did not know what it was: This Margaret said, she wish'd she had been here when Mr. M — was here, another Attendant said, if you had been here you might not have been permitted in, for her own Mother was not suffered to be present.

Sir, after the sorest Affliction and greatest blemish to Religion that ever befel this Countrey, and after most Men began to Fear that some undue steps had been taken, and after His Excellency (with their Majesties Approbation[208] as is said) had put a stop to Executions, and Men began to hope there would never be a return of the like; finding these Accounts to contain in them something extraordinary, I writ them down the same Nights in order to attain the certainty of them, and soon found them so confirmed that I have (besides other Demonstrations) the whole, under the Hands of two Persons are ready to attest the Truth of it; but not satisfied herewith, I shewed them to some of your particular Friends,


that so I might have the greater certainty: But was much surprized with the Message you sent me, that I should be Arrested for Slander, and at your calling me one of the worst of Lyars, making it Pulpit news with the Name of Pernicious Libels, etc. This occasion'd my first Letter.


Reverend Sir,

I having written from the Mouths of several Persons, who affirm they were present with Margaret Rule, the 13th Instant, her Answers and Behaviours, etc. And having shewed it to several of my Friends, as also yours, and understanding you are offended at it; This is to acquaint you, that if you and any one particular Friend, will please to meet me and some other Indifferent Person with me, at Mr. Wilkins, or at Ben. Harris's,[209] you intimating the time, I shall be ready there to read it to you, as also a further Account of proceedings the '19th Instant, which may be needful to prevent Groundless prejudices, and let deserved blame be cast where it ought; From,

Sir, yours in what I may,

R. C.

The effects of which, Sir, (not to mention that long Letter only once read to me) was, you sent me word you would meet me at Mr. Wilkins, but before that Answer, at yours and your Fathers complaint, I was brought before their Majesties Justice, by Warrant, as for Scandalous Libels against your self, and was bound over to Answer at Sessions; I do not remember you then objected against the Truth of what I had wrote, but asserted it was wronged by omissions, which if it were so was past any Power of mine to remedy, having given a faithful account of all that came to my knowledge; And Sir, that you might not be without some Cognisance of the reasons why I took so much pains in it, as also for my own Information, if it might have been, I wrote to you my second Letter to this effect.


Reverend Sir,

Having expected some Weeks, your meeting me at Mr. Wilkins according to what you intimated to Mr. J. M. — [210] and the time draw


ing near for our meeting elsewhere, I thought it not amiss to give you a Summary of my thoughts in the great concern, which as you say has been agitated with so much heat. That there are Witches is not the doubt, the Scriptures else were in vain, which assign their Punishment to be by Death; But what this Witchcraft is, or wherein it does consist, seems to be the whole difficulty: And as it may be easily demonstrated, that all that bear that Name cannot be justly so accounted, so that some things and Actions not so esteemed by the most, yet upon due examination will be found to merit no better Character.

In your late Book you lay down a brief Synopsis of what has been written on that Subject, by a Triumvirate of as Eminent Men as ever handled it (as you are pleas'd to call them) Viz. Mr. Perkins,[211] Gaule,[212] and Bernard[213] consisting of about 30 Tokens to know them by, many of them distinct from, if not thwarting each other: Among all of which I can find but one decisive, Viz. That of Mr. Gaule, Head IV. and runs thus; Among the most unhappy Circumstances to convict a Witch, one is a maligning and oppugning the Word, Work, or Worship of God, and by any extraordinary Sign seeking to seduce any from it, see Deu. 13. 1, 2. Mat. 24. 24. Acts. 13. 8, 10. 2 Tim. 3. 8. Do but mark well the places, and for this very property of thus opposing and perverting, they are all there concluded and absolute Witches.[214]

This Head as here laid down and inserted by you, either is a Truth or not; if not, why is it here inserted from one of the Triumvirate, if it be a Truth, as the Scriptures quoted will abundantly testifie, whence is it that it is so little regarded, tho it be the only Head well proved by Scripture, or that the rest of the Triumvirate should so far forget their Work as not to mention it. It were to be unjust to the Memory of those otherwise Wise Men, to suppose them to have any Sinister design; But perhaps the force of a prevailing opinion, together with an Education thereto Suited, might over


shadow their Judgments, as being wont to be but too prevalent in many other cases. But if the above be Truth, then the Scripture is full and plain, What is Witchcraft? And if so, what need of his next Head of Hanging of People without as full and clear Evidence as in other Cases? Or what need of the rest of the Receipts of the Triumvirate? what need of Praying that the Afflicted may be able to discover who tis that Afflicts them? or what need of Searching for Tet's for the Devil to Suck in his Old Age, or the Experiment of saying the Lords Prayer, etc. Which[215] a multitude more practised in some places Superstitiously inclin'd. Other Actions have been practised for easing the Afflicted, less justifiable, if not strongly savouring of Witchcraft it self, viz. Fondly Imagining by the Hand, etc., to drive off Spectres, or to knock off Invisible Chains, or by striking in the Air to Wound either the Afflicted or others, etc. I write not this to accuse any, but that all may beware believing, That the Devil's bounds are set, which he cannot pass, That the Devils are so full of Malice, That it cant be added to by Mankind, That where he hath Power, he neither can nor will omit Executing it, That 'tis only the Almighty that sets bounds to his rage, and that only can Commissionate him to hurt or destroy any.

These last, Sir, are such Foundations of Truth, in my esteem, that I cannot but own it to be my duty to ascert them, when call'd tho' with the hazard of my All: And consequently to detect such as these, That a Witch can Commissionate Devils to Afflict Mortals, That he can at his or the Witches pleasure Assume any Shape, That Hanging or Chaining of Witches can lessen his Power of Afflicting, or restore those that were at a distance Tormented, with many others depending on these; all tending, in my esteem, highly to the Dishonour of God, and the Indangering the well-being of a People, and do further add, that as the Scriptures are full that there is Witchcraft, (ui sup.) so 'tis as plain that there are Possessions, and that the Bodies of the Possest have hence been not only Afflicted, but strangely agitated, if not their Tongues improved to foretell futurities, etc. and why not to accuse the Innocent, as bewitching them; having pretence to Divination to gain credence. This being reasonable to be expected, from him who is the Father of Lies, to the end he may thereby involve a Countrey in Blood, Mallice, and Evil, surmising which he greedily seeks after, and so finally lead them from their fear and dependence upon God to fear him, and a supposed Witch thereby attaining his end upon Mankind; and not only so, but Natural Distemper, as has been frequently observed by the Judicious, have so operated as to deceive, more than the Vulgar, as


is testified by many Famous Physicians, and others. And as for that proof of Multitudes of Confessions, this Countrey may be by this time thought Competent Judges, what credence we ought to give them, having had such numerous Instances, as also how obtain'd.

And now Sir, if herein be any thing in your esteem valuable, let me intreat you, not to account it the worse for coming from so mean a hand; which however you may have receiv'd Prejudices, etc., Am ready to serve you to my Power; but if you Judge otherwise hereof, you may take your own Methods for my better Information. Who am, Sir, yours to command, in what I may,

R. C.[216]

In Answer to this last, Sir, you replyed to the Gentleman that presented it, that you had nothing to Prosecute against me; and said as to your Sentiments in your Books, you did not bind any to believe them, and then again renew'd your promise of meeting me, as before, tho' not yet performed. Accordingly, tho' I waited at Sessions, there was none to object ought against me, upon which I was dismissed. This gave me some reason to believe that you intended all should have been forgotten; But instead of that, I find the Coals are fresh blown up, I being supposed to be represented, in a late Manuscript, More Wonders of the, etc., as Traversing[217] your Discourse in your Faithful discharge of your Duty, etc. And such as see not with the Authors Eyes, rendred Sadducees and Witlins,[218] etc., and the Arguments that square not with the Sentiments therein contain'd, Buffoonary; rarely no doubt, agreeing with the Spirit of Christ, and his dealings with an unbelieving Thomas, yet whose infidelity was without compare less excusable, but the Author having resolved long since, to have no more than one single Grain of Patience, with them that deny,[219] etc., the Wonder is the less. It must needs be that offences come, but wo to him by whom they come. To vindicate my self therefore from such false Imputations, of Satanlike insinuations, and misrepresenting your Actions, etc., and to vindicate your self, Sir, as much as is in my Power from those Suggestions, said to be Insinuated, as if you wore not the Modesty and Gravity, that becomes a Minister of the Gospel; which it seems, some that never saw the said Narratives,


report themo contain; I say, Sir, for these reasons, I here present you with the first Coppy that ever was taken, etc. And purpose for a Weeks time to be ready, if you shall intimate your pleasure, to wait upon you, either at the place formerly appointed, or any other that is indifferent to the End; that if there shall appear any defects in that Narrative, they may be amended.

Thus, Sir, I have given you a genuine account of my Sentiments and Actions in this Affair; and do request and pray, that if I err, I may be shewed it from Scripture, or sound Reason, and not by quotations out of Virgil, nor Spanish Rhetorick. For I find the Witlings mentioned, are so far from answering your profound questions, that they cannot so much as pretend to shew a distinction between Witchcraft in the Common notion of it, and Possession; Nor so much as to demonstrate that ever the Jews or primitive Christians did believe, that a Witch could send a Devil to Afflict her Neighbours; but to all these, Sir, (ye being the Salt of the Earth, etc.) I have reason to hope for a Satisfactory Answer to him, who is one that reverences your Person and Office; And am, Sir, yours to Command in what I may,

R. C.


Mr. R. C.

Whereas you intimate your desires, that what's not fairly, (I take it for granted you mean truly also,) represented in a Paper you lately sent me, containing a pretended Narrative of a Visit by my Father and self to an Afflicted Young woman, whom we apprehended to be under a Diabolical Possession, might be rectified: I have this to say, as I have often already said, that I do scarcely find any one thing in the whole Paper, whether respecting my Father or self, either fairly or truly represented. Nor can I think that any that know my Parents Circumstances, but must think him deserving a better Character by far, than this Narrative can be thought to give him. When the main design we managed in Visiting the poor Afflicted Creature, was to prevent the Accusations of the Neighbourhood, can it be fairly represented that our design was to draw out such Accusations, which is the representation


of the Paper? We have Testimonies of the best Witnesses and in Number not a few, That when we asked Rule whether she thought she knew who Tormented her? the Question was but an Introduction to the Solemn charges which we then largely gave, that she should rather Dye than tell the Names of any whom she might Imagine that she knew. Your Informers have reported the Question, and report nothing of what follows, as essential to the giving of that Question: And can this be termed a piece of fairness? Fair it cannot be, that when Ministers Faithfully and Carefully discharge their Duty to the Miserable in their Flock, little bits, scraps and shreds of their Discourses should be tackt together to make them contemtible, when there shall be no notice of all the Necessary, Seasonable, and Profitable things that occur'd, in those Discourses; And without which, the occasion of the lesser Passages cannot be understood; And yet I am furnished with abundant Evidences, ready to be Sworn, that will possitively prove this part of unfairness, by the above mention'd Narrative, to be done both to my Father and self. Again, it seems not fair or reasonable that I should be expos'd, for which your self (not to say some others) might have expos'd me for, if I had not done, Viz. for discouraging so much Company from flocking about the Possest Maid, and yet, as I perswade my self, you cannot but think it to be good advice, to keep much Company from such haunted Chambers; besides the unfairness doth more appear, in that I find nothing repeated of what I said about the advantage, which the Devil takes from too much Observation and Curiosity.

In that several of the Questions in the Paper are so Worded, as to carry in them a presupposal of the things inquired after, to say the best of it is very unfair: But this is not all, the Narrative contains a number of Mistakes and Falshoods; which were they willful and design'd, might justly be termed gross Lies. The representations are far from true, when 'tis affirm'd my Father and self being come into the Room, I began the Discourse; I hope I understand breeding a little better than so: For proof of this, did occasion serve, sundry can depose the contrary.

'Tis no less untrue, that either my Father or self put the Question, how many Witches sit upon you? We always


cautiously avoided that expression; It being contrary to our inward belief: All the standers by will (I believe) Swear they did not hear us use it (your Witnesses excepted) and I tremble to think how hardy those woful Creatures must be, to call the Almighty by an Oath, to so false a thing. As false a representation 'tis, that I rub'd Rule's Stomach, her Breast not being covered. The Oath of the nearest Spectators, giving a true account of that matter will prove this to be little less than a gross (if not a doubled) Lie; and to be somewhat plainer, it carries the Face of a Lie contrived on purpose (by them at least, to whom you are beholden for the Narrative) Wickedly and Basely to expose me. For you cannot but know how much this Representation hath contributed, to make People believe a Smutty thing of me; I am far from thinking, but that in your own Conscience you believe, that no indecent Action of that Nature could then be done by me before such observers, had I been so Wicked as to have been inclin'd to what is Base. It looks next to impossible that a reparation shoud be made me for the wrong done to, I hope, as to any Scandal, an unblemish'd, tho' weak and small Servant of the Church of God. Nor is what follows a less untruth, that 'twas an Attendant and not my self who said, if Rule knows who Afflicts her, yet she wont tell. I therefore spoke it that I might incourage her to continue in that concealment of all Names whatsoever; to this I am able to furnish my self with the Attestation of Sufficient Oaths. 'Tis as far from true, that my apprehension of the Imp, about Rule, was on her Belly, for the Oaths of the Spectators, and even of those that thought they felt it, can testify that 'twas upon the Pillow, at a distance from her Body. As untrue a Representation is that which follows, Viz. That it was said unto her, that her not Apprehending of that odd palpable, tho' not visible, Mover was from her Fancy, for I endeavoured to perswade her that it might be but Fancy in others, that there was any such thing at all. Witnesses every way sufficient can be produced for this also. 'Tis falsely represented that my Father felt on the Young-woman after the appearance mentioned, for his hand was never near her; Oath can sufficiently vindicate him. 'Tis very untrue that my Father Prayed for perhaps half an Hour, against the power of the Devil and Witchcraft, and that God would bring out the


Afflictors. Witnesses of the best Credit, can depose, that his Prayer was not a quarter of an Hour, and that there was no more than about one clause towards the close of the Prayer, which was of this import; And this clause also was guarded with a singular wariness and modesty, Viz. If there were any evil Instruments in this matter God would please to discover them: And that there was more than common reason for that Petition I can satisfie any one that will please to Inquire of me. And strange it is, that a Gentleman that from 18 to 54 hath been an Exemplary Minister of the Gospel; and that besides a station in the Church of God, as considerable as any that his own Country can afford, hath for divers years come off with Honour, in his Application to three Crown'd Heads, and the chiefest Nobility of three Kingdoms, Knows not yet how to make one short Prayer of a quarter of an hour, but in New-England he must be Libell'd for it. There are divers other down-right mistakes, which you have permitted your self, I would hope not knowingly, and with a Malicious design, to be receiver or Compiler of, which I shall now forbear to Animadvert upon. As for the Appendix of the Narrative I do find myself therein Injuriously treated, for the utmost of your proof for what you say of me, amounts to little more than, viz. Some People told you, that others told them, that such and such things did pass, but you may assure yourself, that I am not unfurnish'd with Witnesses, that can convict the same. Whereas you would give me to believe the bottom of these your Methods, to be some dissatisfaction about the commonly receiv'd Power of Devils and Witches; I do not only with all freedom offer you the use of any part of my Library, which you may see cause to peruse on that Subject, but also if you and any else, whom you please, will visit me at my Study, yea, or meet me at any other place, less inconvenient than those by you propos'd; I will with all the fairness and calmness in the World dispute the point. I beg of God that he would bestow as many Blessings on you, as ever on myself, and out of a sincere wish, that you may be made yet more capable of these Blessings, I take this occasion to lay before you the faults (not few nor small ones neither) which the Paper contained, you lately sent me in order to be Examined by me. In case you want a true and full Narrative of my


Visit, whereof such an indecent Traversty (to say the best) hath been made, I am not unwilling to communicate it, in mean time must take liberty to say, 'Tis scarcely consistent with Common Civility, much less Christian Charity, to offer the Narrative, now with you, for a true one, till you have a truer, or for a full one, till you have a fuller. Your Sincere (tho Injur'd) Friend and Servant,

C. Mather.
The Copy of a Paper Receiv'd with the above Letter.
I do Testifie that I have seen Margaret Rule in her Afflictions from the Invisible World, lifted up from her Bed, wholly by an Invisible force, a great way towards the top of the Room where she lay; in her being so lifted, she had no Assistance from any use of her own Arms or Hands, or any other part of her Body, not so much as her Heels touching her Bed, or resting on any support whatsoever. And I have seen her thus lifted, when not only a strong Person hath thrown his whole weight a cross her to pull her down; but several other Persons have endeavoured, with all their might, to hinder her from being so raised up, which I suppose that several others will testifie as well as my self, when call'd unto it. Witness my Hand,
Samuel Aves.
We can also Testifie to the substance of what is above Written, and have several times seen Margaret Rule so lifted up from her Bed, as that she had no use of her own Lims to help her up, but it was the declared apprehension of us, as well as others that saw it, impossible for any hands, but some of the Invisible World to lift her.
Robert Earle. John Wilkins. Dan. Williams.
We whose Names are under-writted do testifie, That one Evening when we were in the Chamber where Margaret Rule then lay, in her late Affliction, we observed her to be, by an


Invisible Force, lifted up from the Bed whereon she lay, so as to touch the Garret Floor, while yet neither her Feet, nor any other part of her Body rested either on the Bed, or any other support, but were also by the same force, lifted up from all that was under her, and all this for a considerable while, we judg'd it several Minutes; and it was as much as several of us could do, with all our strength to pull her down. All which happened when there was not only we two in the Chamber, but we suppose ten or a dozen more, whose Names we have forgotten,
Thomas Thornton.
William Hudson Testifies to the substance of Thorntons Testimony, to which he also hath set his Hand.


Mr. Cotton Mather, Reverend Sir,

Yours of the 15th Instant, I receiv'd yesterday; and soon found I had promised my self too much by it, Viz, Either concurrence with, or a denial of those Fundamentals mentioned in mine, of Novem. the 24th, finding this waved by an Invitation to your Library, etc. I thank God I have the Bible, and do Judge that sufficient to demonstrate that cited Head of Mr. Gaule to be a Truth, as also those other Heads mentioned, as the Foundations of Religion. And in my apprehension, if it be asked any Christian, whether God governs the World, and whether it be he only can Commissionate Devils, and such other Fundamentals, He ought to be as ready as in the Question, who made him? (a little Writing certainly might be of more use, to clear up the controverted points, than either looking over many Books in a well furnish'd Library, or than a dispute, if I were qualified for it; the Inconveniencies of Passion being this way best avoided) And am not without hopes that you will yet oblige me so far, as to consider that Letter, and if I Err, to let me see it by Scripture, etc.

Yours, almost the whole of it, is concerning the Narrative I sent to you, and you seem to intimate as if I were giving


Characters, Reflections, and Libell's etc. concerning your self and Relations; all which were as far from my thoughts, as ever they were in writing after either your self, or any other Minister. In the front you declare your apprehension to be, that the Afflicted was under a Diabolical Possession, and if so, I see not how it should be occasion'd by any Witchcraft (unless we ascribe that Power to a Witch, which is only the Prerogative of the Almighty, of Sending or Commissionating the Devils to Afflict her.) But to your particular Objections against the Narrative; and to the first my intelligence not giving me any further, I could not insert that I knew not. And it seems improbable that a Question should be put, whether she knew (or rather who they were) and at the same time to charge her, and that upon her Life, not to tell, and if you had done so, I see but little good you could promise your self or others by it, she being Possest, as also having it inculcated so much to her of Witchcraft. And as to the next Objection about company flocking, etc., I do profess my Ignorance, not knowing what you mean by it. And Sir, that most of the Questions did carry with them a presupposing the things inquired after, is evident, if there were such as those relating to the Black-man and a Book, and about her hearing the Prayer, etc. (related in the said Narrative, which I find no Objection against.) As to that which is said of mentioning your self first discoursing and your hopes that your breeding was better (I doubt it not) nor do I doubt your Father might first apply himself to others; but my intelligence is, that you first spake to the Afflicted or Possessed, for which you had the advantage of a nearer approach. The next two Objections are founded upon mistakes: I find not in the Narrative any such Question, as how many Witches sit upon you? and that her Breast was not covered, in which those material words “with the Bed-Cloaths” are wholly omitted; I am not willing to retort here your own Language upon you; but can tell you, that your own discourse of it publickly, at Sir W. P.'s[221] Table, has much more contributed to, etc. As to the Reply, if she could she would not tell, whether either or both spake it it matters not much. Neither does the Narrative say you felt the live thing on her Belly; tho I omit now to say what further demonstrations there are


of it. As to that Reply, that is only her fancy, I find the word “her” added. And as to your Fathers feeling for the live Creature after you had felt it, if it were on the Bed it was not so very far from her. And for the length of his Prayer, possibly your Witnesses might keep a more exact account of the time than those others, and I stand not for a few Minutes. For the rest of the Objections I suppose them of less moment, if less can be (however shall be ready to receive them, those matters of greatest concern I find no Objections against). These being all that yet appear, it may be thought that if the Narrative be not fully exact, it was as near as Memory could bear away; but should be glad to see one more perfect (which yet is not to be expected, seeing none writ at the time). You mention the appendix, by which I understand the Second Visit, and if you be by the possessed belyed (as being half an hour with her alone, excluding her own Mother, and as telling her you had Prayed for her Nine times that day, and that now was her Laughing time, she must Laugh now) I can see no Wonder in it; what can be expected less from the Father of Lies, by whom, you Judge, she was possest.

And besides the above Letter, you were pleased to send me another Paper containing several Testimonies of the Possessed being lifted up, and held a space of several Minutes to the Garret floor, etc., but they omit giving the account, whether after she was down they bound her down: or kept holding her: And relate not how many were to pull her down, which hinders the knowledge what number they must be to be stronger than an Invisible Force. Upon the whole, I suppose you expect I should believe it; and if so, the only advantage gain'd, is that which has been so long controverted between Protestants and Papists, whether Miracles are ceast, will hereby seem to be decided for the latter; it being, for ought I can see, if so, as true a Miracle as for Iron to swim, and that the Devil can work such Miracles.

But Sir, leaving these little disputable things, I do again pray that you would let me have the happiness of your approbation or confutation of that Letter before referred to.

And now, Sir, that the God of all Grace may enable us Zealously to own his Truths, and to follow those things that tend to Peace, and that yourself may be as an useful Instrument


in his hand, effectually to ruin the remainders of Heathenish and Popish Superstitions, is the earnest desire and prayer of yours to command, in what I may.

R. C.[222]



1694 of our present calendar.




Haven't, hain't.




The answer to Governor Phips's letter of October 12 (see pp. 196-198, above) was indeed a royal order of January 26 “approving his action in stopping the proceedings against the witches in New England, and directing that in all future proceedings against persons accused of witchcraft or of possession by the devil, all circumspection be used so far as may be without impediment to the ordinary course of justice” — what Frederick the Great would have called “a vague answer — in the Austrian style — that should mean nothing.” It of course did not reach America till after the despatch of Sir William's letter of February 21 (pp. 198-202, above).


The two Boston booksellers'.


It is perhaps idle to guess at the identity of this gentleman; but his initials suggest the Rev. Joshua Moodey, whose kindlier attitude toward witches and their defenders may be inferred from his course in the case of Philip English (see pp. 187-188, note), and who, though early in 1693 he returned to Portsmouth, was still often in Boston. Nor may it be forgotten that the initials of the Rev. Increase Mather are by the printer constantly made “J. M.”


See above, p. 304, note 3.


See above, p. 216, note 1, and p. 219.


See above, p. 304, note 5.


To the end of the paragraph the words are Gaule's. Calef is quoting them, not from Gaule's book, but from Mather's Wonders; for Gaule numbers this rule, not IV., but X., and the introductory words (“Among the most unhappy Circumstances to convict a witch, one is”) are not his, but Mather's — and there are other slight departures from Gaule's wording.




By a misprint the original has “P. C.”


Travestying. See p. 323, above.


See p. 318, above.


See p. 123, above.


1694 of new style.


Sir William Phips's.


Between this letter and the pages of Calef's book which here follow there intervene (1) further letters from him to Mather and to other Boston ministers, on whom he urges his views, (2) a body of documents relating to the controversy between the Rev. Mr. Parris and his disaffected parishioners at Salem Village between the period of the witch-trials and his removal, (3) an epistolary discussion as to the theory of witchcraft between Calef and a Scotsman named Stuart.

PART V. An Impartial Account of the most Memorable Matters of Fact, touching the supposed Witchcraft in New England.[223]

Mr. Parris had been some years a Minister in Salem-Village,[224] when this sad Calamity (as a deluge) overflowed them, spreading it self far and near: He was a Gentleman of Liberal Education, and not meeting with any great Encouragement, or Advantage in Merchandizing, to which for some time he apply'd himself, betook himself to the work of the Ministry; this Village being then vacant, he met with so much Encouragement, as to settle in that Capacity among them.

After he had been there about two years, he obtained a Grant from a part of the Town, that the House and Land he Occupied, and which had been Alotted by the whole People to the Ministry, should be and remain to him, etc. as his own Estate in Fee Simple. This occasioned great Divisions both between the Inhabitants themselves, and between a considerable part of them and their said Minister, which Divisions were but as a beginning or Præludium to what immediately followed.

It was the latter end of February 1691,[225] when divers young Persons belonging to Mr. Parris's Family, and one or


more of the Neighbourhood, began to Act, after a strange and unusual manner, viz. as by getting into Holes, and creeping under Chairs and Stools, and to use sundry odd Postures and Antick Gestures, uttering foolish, ridiculous Speeches, which neither they themselves nor any others could make sense of; the Physicians that were called could assign no reason for this; but it seems one of them,[226] having recourse to the old shift, told them he was afraid they were Bewitched; upon such suggestions, they that were concerned applied themselves to Fasting and Prayer, which was attended not only in their own private Families, but with calling in the help of others.

March the 11th. Mr. Parris invited several Neighbouring Ministers to join with him in keeping a Solemn day of Prayer at his own House; the time of the exercise those Persons were for the most part silent, but after any one Prayer was ended, they would Act and Speak strangely and Ridiculously, yet were such as had been well Educated and of good Behaviour, the one, a Girl of 11 or 12 years old,[227] would sometimes seem to be in a Convulsion Fit, her Limbs being twisted several ways, and very stiff, but presently her Fit would be over.

A few days before this Solemn day of Prayer, Mr. Parris's Indian Man and Woman[228] made a Cake of Rye Meal, with the Childrens Water, and Baked it in the Ashes, and as is said, gave it to the Dog; this was done as a means to Discover Witchcraft;[229] soon after which those ill affected or afflicted Persons named several that they said they saw, when in their Fits, afflicting of them.


The first complain'd of, was the said Indian Woman, named Tituba. She confessed that the Devil urged her to sign a Book, which he presented to her, and also to work Mischief to the Children, etc. She was afterwards Committed to Prison, and lay there till Sold for her Fees.[230] The account she since gives of it is, that her Master did beat her and otherways abuse her, to make her confess and accuse (such as he call'd) her Sister-Witches, and that whatsoever she said by way of confessing or accusing others, was the effect of such usage; her Master refused to pay her Fees, unless she would stand to what she had said.[231]

The Children complained likewise of two other Women, to be the Authors of their Hurt, Viz. Sarah Good, who had long been counted a Melancholy or Distracted Woman, and one Osburn, an Old Bed-rid Woman; which two were Persons so ill thought of, that the accusation was the more readily believed; and after Examination before two Salem Magistrates,[232] were committed:

March the 19th, Mr. Lawson (who had been formerly a Preacher at the said Village) came thither, and hath since set fourth in Print an account of what then passed, about which time, as he saith, they complained of Goodwife Cory, and Goodwife Nurse, Members of the Churches at the Village and at Salem, many others being by that time Accused.

March the 21st, Goodwife Cory was examined before the Magistrates of Salem, at the Meeting House in the Village, a throng of Spectators being present to see the Novelty. Mr. Noyes, one of the Ministers of Salem, began with Prayer, after which the Prisoner being call'd, in order to answer to what should be Alledged against her, she desired that she might go to Prayer, and was answered by the Magistrates, that they did not come to hear her pray, but to examine her.

The number of the Afflicted were at that time about Ten,


Viz. Mrs. Pope, Mrs. Putman, Goodwife Bibber, and Goodwife Goodall, Mary Wolcott, Mercy Lewes (at Thomas Putmans) and Dr. Griggs Maid, and three Girls, Viz. Elizabeth Parris, Daughter to the Minister, Abigail Williams his Neice, and Ann Putman, which last three were not only the beginners, but were also the chief in these Accusations. These Ten were most of them present at the Examination, and did vehemently accuse her of Afflicting them, by Biting, Pinching, Strangling, etc. And they said, they did in their Fits see her likeness coming to them, and bringing a Book for them to Sign; Mr. Hathorn, a Magistrate of Salem, asked her, why she Afflicted those Children? she said, she did not Afflict them; he asked her, who did then? she said, “I do not know, how should I know?” she said, they were Poor Distracted Creatures, and no heed to be given to what they said; Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Noyes replied that it was the Judgment of all that were there present, that they were bewitched, and only she (the Accused) said they were Distracted: She was Accused by them, that the Black Man Whispered to her in her Ear now (while she was upon Examination) and that she had a Yellow Bird, that did use to Suck between her Fingers, and that the said Bird did Suck now in the Assembly; order being given to look in that place to see if there were any sign, the Girl that pretended to see it said, that it was too late now, for she had removed a Pin, and put it on her head, it was upon search found, that a Pin was there sticking upright. When the Accused had any motion of their Body, Hands or Mouth, the Accusers would cry out, as when she bit her Lip, they would cry out of being bitten, if she grasped one hand with the other, they would cry out of being Pinched by her, and would produce marks, so of the other motions of her Body, as complaining of being Prest, when she lean'd to the seat next her, if she stirred her Feet, they would stamp and cry out of Pain there. After the hearing the said Cory was committed to Salem Prison, and then their crying out of her abated.

March the 24th, Goodwife Nurse was brought before Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Curwin (Magistrates) in the Meeting House. Mr. Hale, Minister of Beverly, began with Prayer, after which she being Accus'd of much the same Crimes made the like an


swers, asserting her own Innocence with earnestness. The Accusers were mostly the same, Tho. Putmans Wife, etc. complaining much. The dreadful Shreiking from her and others, was very amazing, which was heard at a great distance; she was also Committed to Prison.

A Child of Sarah Goods was likewise apprehended, being between 4 and 5 years Old. The Accusers said this Child bit them, and would shew such like marks, as those of a small Sett of Teeth upon their Arms; as many of the Afflicted as the Child cast its Eye upon, would complain they were in Torment; which Child they also Committed.

Concerning these that had been hitherto Examined and Committed, it is among other things observed by Mr. Lawson (in Print[233]) that they were by the Accusers charged to belong to a Company that did muster in Arms, and were reported by them to keep Days of Fast, Thanksgiving and Sacraments; and that those Afflicted (or Accusers) did in the Assembly Cure each others, even with a touch of their Hand, when strangled and otherways tortured, and would endeavour to get to the Afflicted to relieve them thereby (for hitherto they had not used the Experiment of bringing the Accused to touch the Afflicted, in order to their Cure) and could foretel one anothers Fits to be coming, and would say, look to such a one, she will have a Fit presently and so it happened, and that at the same time when the Accused person was present, the Afflicted said they saw her Spectre or likeness in other places of the Meeting House Suckling[234] of their Familiars.

The said Mr. Lawson being to Preach at the Village, after the Psalm was Sung, Abigail Williams said, “Now stand up and name your Text”; after it was read, she said, “It is a long Text.” Mrs. Pope in the beginning of Sermon said to him, “Now there is enough of that.” In Sermon, he referring to his Doctrine, Abigail Williams said to him, “I know no Doctrine you had, if you did name one I have forgot it.” Ann Putman, an afflicted Girl, said, There was a Yellow Bird sate on his Hat as it hung on the Pin in the Pulpit.

March 31, 1692. Was set apart as a day of Solemn Humiliation at Salem, upon the Account of this Business, on which day Abigail Williams said, That she saw a great number


of Persons in the Village at the Administration of a Mock Sacrament, where they had Bread as read as raw Flesh, and red Drink.

April 1. Mercy Lewis affirmed, That she saw a man in white, with whom she went into a Glorious Place, viz. In her fits, where was no Light of the Sun, much less of Candles, yet was full of Light and Brightness, with a great Multitude in White Glittering Robes, who Sang the Song in 5. Rev. 9. and the 110 and 149 Psalms; And was grieved that she might tarry no longer in this place. This White Man is said to have appeared several times to others of them, and to have given them notice how long it should be before they should have another Fit.

April the 3d. Being Sacrament Day at the Village, Sarah Cloys, Sister to Goodwife Nurse, a Member to one of the Churches, was (tho' it seems with difficulty prevail'd with to be) present; but being entred the place, and Mr. Parris naming his Text, 6 John, 70. Have not I chosen you Twelve, and one of you is a Devil (for what cause may rest as a doubt whether upon the account of her Sisters being Committed, or because of the choice of that Text) she rose up and went out, the wind shutting the Door forcibly, gave occasion to some to suppose she went out in Anger, and might occasion a suspicion of her; however she was soon after complain'd of, examin'd and Committed.

April the 11th. By this time the number of the Accused and Accusers being much encreased, was a Publick Examination at Salem, Six of the Magistrates with several Ministers being present;[235] there appeared several who complain'd against others with hidious clamors and Screechings. Goodwife Proctor was brought thither, being Accused or cryed out against; her Husband coming to attend and assist her, as there might


be need, the Accusers cryed out of him also, and that with so much earnestness, that he was Committed with his Wife. About this time besides the Experiment of the Afflicted falling at the sight, etc., they put the Accused upon saying the Lords Prayer, which one among them performed, except in that petition, Deliver us from Evil, she exprest it thus, Deliver us from all Evil. This was lookt upon as if she Prayed against what she was now justly under, and being put upon it again, and repeating those words, Hallowed be thy name, she exprest it, Hollowed be thy Name, this was counted a depraving the words, as signifying to make void, and so a Curse rather then[236] a Prayer, upon the whole it was concluded that she also could not say it, etc. Proceeding in this work of examination and Commitment, many were sent to Prison. As an Instance, see the following Mittimus:

To their Majesties Goal-keeper[237] in Salem.

You are in Their Majesties Names hereby required to take into your care, and safe custody, the Bodies of William Hobs, and Deborah[238] his Wife, Mary Easty, the Wife of Isaac Easty, and Sarah Wild, the Wife of John Wild, all of Topsfield; and Edward Bishop of Salem-Village, Husbandman, and Sarah his Wife, and Mary Black, a Negro of Lieutenant Nathaniel Putmans of Salem-Village; also Mary English the Wife of Philip English, Merchant in Salem;[239] who stand charged with High Suspicion of Sundry Acts of Witchcraft, done or committed by them lately upon the Bodies of Ann Putman, Mercy Lewis[240] and Abigail Williams, of Salem-Village, whereby great Hurt and Damage hath been done to the Bodies of the said Persons, [as] according to the complaint of Thomas Putman and John Buxton of Salem-Village, Exhibited Salem, Apr 21, 1692, appears, whom you are to secure in order to their further Examination. Fail not.

John Hathorn, Assistants. Jona. Curwin,


To Marshal George Herrick of Salem Essex.

You are in their Majesties Names hereby required to convey the above-named to the Goal at Salem. Fail not.

John Hathorn, Assistants. Jona. Curwin,

The occasion of Bishops being cry'd out of[241] was, he being at an Examination in Salem, when at the Inn an afflicted Indian[242] was very unruly, whom he undertook, and so managed him, that he was very orderly, after which in riding home, in company of him and other Accusers, the Indian fell into a fit, and clapping hold with his Teeth on the back of the Man that rode before him, thereby held himself upon the Horse, but said Bishop striking him with his stick, the Indian soon recovered, and promised he would do so no more; to which Bishop replied, that he doubted not, but he could cure them all, with more to the same effect; immediately after he was parted from them, he was cried out of, etc.

May 14, 1692. Sir William Phips arrived with Commission from Their Majesties to be Governour, pursuant to the New-Charter; which he now brought with him; the Ancient Charter having been vacated by King Charles, and King James (by which they had a power not only to make their own Laws; but also to chuse their own Governour and Officers;) and the Countrey for some years was put under an absolute Commission-Government, till the Revolution,[243] at which time tho more than two thirds of the People were for reassuming their ancient Government, (to which they had encouragement by His then Royal Highness's Proclamation) yet some that might have been better imployed (in another Station)[244] made it their business (by printing, as well as speaking) to their


utmost to divert them from such a settlement; and so far prevailed, that for about seven Weeks after the Revolution, here was not so much as a face of any Government; but some few Men upon their own Nomination would be called a Committee of Safety; but at length the Assembly prevailed with those that had been of the Government, to promise that they would reassume; and accordingly a Proclamation was drawn, but before publishing it, it was underwritten, that they would not have it understood that they did reassume Charter-Government; so that between Government and no Government, this Countrey remained till Sir William arrived; Agents being in this time impowered in England, which no doubt did not all of them act according to the Minds or Interests of those that impowered them, which is manifest by their not acting jointly in what was done; so that this place is perhaps a single Instance (even in the best of Reigns) of a Charter not restored after so happy a Revolution.

This settlement by Sir William Phips his being come Governour put an end to all disputes of these things, and being arrived, and having read his Commission, the first thing he exerted his Power in, was said to be his giving Orders that Irons should be put upon those in Prison; for tho for some time after these were Committed, the Accusers ceased to cry out of them;[245] yet now the cry against them was renewed, which occasioned such Order; and tho there was partiality in the executing it (some having taken them off[246] almost as soon as put on) yet the cry of these Accusers against such ceased after this Order.[247]

May 24. Mrs. Cary of Charlestown, was Examined and Committed. Her Husband Mr. Nathaniel Cary[248] has given account thereof, as also of her Escape, to this Effect,


I having heard some days, that my Wife was accused of Witchcraft, being much disturbed at it, by advice, we went to Salem-Village, to see if the afflicted did know her; we arrived there, 24 May, it happened to be a day appointed for Examination; accordingly soon after our arrival, Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Curwin, etc., went to the Meeting-house, which was the place appointed for that Work, the Minister began with Prayer, and having taken care to get a convenient place, I observed, that the afflicted were two Girls of about Ten Years old,[249] and about two or three other, of about eighteen, one of the Girls talked most, and could discern more than the rest. The Prisoners were called in one by one, and as they came in were cried out of, etc. The Prisoner was placed about 7 or 8 foot from the Justices, and the Accusers between the Justices and them; the Prisoner was ordered to stand right before the Justices, with an Officer appointed to hold each hand, least they should therewith afflict them, and the Prisoners Eyes must be constantly on the Justices; for if they look'd on the afflicted, they would either fall into their Fits, or cry out of being hurt by them; after Examination of the Prisoners, who it was afflicted these Girls, etc., they were put upon saying the Lords Prayer, as a tryal of their guilt; after the afflicted seem'd to be out of their Fits, they would look steadfastly on some one person, and frequently not speak; and then the Justices said they were struck dumb, and after a little time would speak again; then the Justices said to the Accusers, “which of you will go and touch the Prisoner at the Bar?” then the most couragious would adventure, but before they had made three steps would ordinarily fall down as in a Fit; the Justices ordered that they should be taken up and carried to the Prisoner, that she might touch them; and as soon as they were touched by the accused, the Justices would say, they are well, before I could discern any alteration; by which I observed that the Justices understood the manner of it. Thus far I was only as a Spectator, my Wife also was there part of the time, but no notice taken of her by the afflicted, except once or twice they came to her and asked her name.

But I having an opportunity to Discourse[250] Mr. Hale[251] (with whom I had formerly acquaintance) I took his advice, what I had best to do, and desired of him that I might have an opportunity to speak with her that accused my Wife; which he promised should be, I acquainting him that I reposed my trust in him.

Accordingly he came to me after the Examination was over, and told me I had now an opportunity to speak with the said Accuser,


viz. Abigail Williams, a Girl of 11 or 12 Years old; but that we could not be in private at Mr. Parris's House, as he had promised me; we went therefore into the Alehouse, where an Indian Man attended us, who it seems was one of the afflicted: to him we gave some Cyder, he shewed several Scars, that seemed as if they had been long there, and shewed them as done by Witchcraft, and acquainted us that his Wife, who also was a Slave, was imprison'd for Witchcraft.[252] And now instead of one Accuser, they all came in, who began to tumble down like Swine, and then three Women were called in to attend them. We in the Room were all at a stand, to see who they would cry out of; but in a short time they cried out, Cary; and immediately after a Warrant was sent from the Justices to bring my Wife before them, who were sitting in a Chamber near by, waiting for this.

Being brought before the Justices, her chief accusers were two Girls; my Wife declared to the Justices, that she never had any knowledge of them before that day; she was forced to stand with her Arms stretched out. I did request that I might hold one of her hands, but it was denied me; then she desired me to wipe the Tears from her Eyes, and the Sweat from her Face, which I did; then she desired she might lean her self on me, saying, she should faint.

Justice Hathorn replied, she had strength enough to torment those persons, and she should have strength enough to stand. I speaking something against their cruel proceedings, they commanded me to be silent, or else I should be turned out of the Room. The Indian before mentioned, was also brought in, to be one of her Accusers: being come in, he now (when before the Justices) fell down and tumbled about like a Hog, but said nothing. The Justices asked the Girls, who afflicted the Indian? they answered she (meaning my Wife) and now lay upon him; the Justices ordered her to touch him, in order to his cure, but her head must be turned another way, least instead of curing, she should make him worse, by her looking on him, her hand being guided to take hold of his; but the Indian took hold on her hand, and pulled her down on the Floor, in a barbarous manner; then his hand was taken off, and her hand put on his, and the cure was quickly wrought. I being extreamly troubled at their Inhumane dealings, uttered a hasty Speech (That God would take vengeance on them, and desired that God would deliver us out of the hands of unmerciful men.) Then her Mittimus was writ. I did with difficulty and charge obtain the liberty of a Room, but no Beds in it; if there had, could have taken but little rest that Night. She was committed to Boston Prison; but I obtained a Habeas Corpus to remove her to Cambridge Prison, which is in our County of Mid


dlesex. Having been there one Night, next Morning the Jaylor put Irons on her legs (having received such a command) the weight of them was about eight pounds; these Irons and her other Afflictions, soon brought her into Convulsion Fits, so that I thought she would have died that Night. I sent to intreat that the Irons might be taken off, but all intreaties were in vain, if it would have saved her Life, so that in this condition she must continue. The Tryals at Salem coming on, I went thither, to see how things were there managed; and finding that the Spectre-Evidence was there received, together with Idle, if not malicious Stories, against Peoples Lives, I did easily perceive which way the rest would go; for the same Evidence that served for one, would serve for all the rest. I acquainted her with her danger; and that if she were carried to Salem to be tried, I feared she would never return. I did my utmost that she might have her Tryal in our own County, I with several others Petitioning the Judge for it, and were put in hopes of it; but I soon saw so much, that I understood thereby it was not intended, which put me upon consulting the means of her escape; which thro the goodness of God was effected, and she got to Road Island,[253] but soon found her self not safe when there, by reason of the pursuit after her; from thence she went to New-York, along with some others that had escaped their cruel hands; where we found his Excellency Benjamin Fletcher, Esq; Governour, who was very courteous to us. After this some of my Goods were seized in a Friends hands, with whom I had left them, and my self imprisoned by the Sheriff, and kept in Custody half a day, and then dismist; but to speak of their usage of the Prisoners, and their Inhumanity shewn to them, at the time of their Execution, no sober Christian could bear; they had also tryals of cruel mockings; which is the more, considering what a People for Religion, I mean the profession of it, we have been; those that suffered being many of them Church-Members, and most of them unspotted in their Conversation, till their Adversary the Devil took up this Method for accusing them.

Per Nathaniel[254] Cary.

May 31. Captain John Aldin[255] was Examined at Salem, and Committed to Boston Prison. The Prison-Keeper seeing


such a Man Committed, of whom he had a good esteem, was after this the more Compassionate to those that were in Prison on the like account; and did refrain from such hard things to the Prisoners, as before he had used. Mr. Aldin himself has given account of his Examination, in these Words.

An Account how John Aldin, Senior, was dealt with at Salem-Village.

John Aldin Senior, of Boston, in the County of Suffolk, Marriner, on the 28th Day of May, 1692, was sent for by the Magistrates of Salem, in the County of Essex, upon the Accusation of a company of poor distracted, or possessed Creatures or Witches; and being sent by Mr. Stoughton,[256] arrived there the 31st of May, and appeared at Salem-Village, before Mr. Gidney,[257] Mr. Hathorn, and Mr. Curwin.

Those Wenches being present, who plaid their jugling tricks, falling down, crying out, and staring in Peoples Faces; the Magistrates demanded of them several times, who it was of all the People in the Room that hurt them? one of these Accusers pointed several times at one Captain Hill, there present, but spake nothing; the same Accuser had a Man standing at her back to hold her up; he stooped down to her Ear, then she cried out, Aldin, Aldin afflicted her; one of the Magistrates asked her if she had ever seen Aldin, she answered no, he asked her how she knew it was Aldin? She said, the Man told her so.

Then all were ordered to go down into the Street, where a Ring was made; and the same Accuser cried out, “there stands Aldin, a bold fellow with his Hat on before the Judges, he sells Powder and Shot to the Indians and French, and lies with the Indian Squaes, and has Indian Papooses.” Then was Aldin committed to the Marshal's Custody, and his Sword taken from him; for they said he afflicted them with his Sword. After some hours Aldin was sent for to the Meeting-house in the Village before the Magistrates; who required Aldin to stand upon a Chair, to the open view of all the People.

The Accusers cried out that Aldin did pinch them, then, when he stood upon the Chair, in the sight of all the People, a good way distant from them, one of the Magistrates bid the Marshal to hold open Aldin's hands, that he might not pinch those Creatures. Aldin asked


them why they should think, that he should come to that Village to afflict those persons that he never knew or saw before? Mr. Gidney bid Aldin confess, and give glory to God; Aldin said he hoped he should give glory to God, and hoped he should never gratifie the Devil; but appealed to all that ever knew him, if they ever suspected him to be such a person, and challenged any one, that could bring in any thing upon their own knowledge, that might give suspicion of his being such an one. Mr. Gidney said he had known Aldin many Years, and had been at Sea with him, and always look'd upon him to be an honest Man, but now he did see cause to alter his judgment: Aldin answered, he was sorry for that, but he hoped God would clear up his Innocency, that he would recall that judgment again, and added that he hoped that he should with Job maintain his Integrity till he died. They bid Aldin look upon the Accusers, which he did, and then they fell down. Aldin asked Mr. Gidney, what Reason there could be given, why Aldin's looking upon him did not strike him down as well; but no reason was given that I heard. But the Accusers were brought to Aldin to touch them, and this touch they said made them well. Aldin began to speak of the Providence of God in suffering these Creatures to accuse Innocent persons. Mr. Noyes asked Aldin why he would offer to speak of the Providence of God. God by his Providence (said Mr. Noyes) governs the World, and keeps it in peace; and so went on with Discourse, and stopt Aldin's mouth, as to that. Aldin told Mr. Gidney, that he could assure him that there was a lying Spirit in them, for I can assure you that there is not a word of truth in all these say of me. But Aldin was again committed to the Marshal, and his Mittimus written, which was as follows.


Whereas Captain John Aldin of Boston, Marriner, and Sarah Rice, Wife of Nicholas Rice of Reding, Husbandman, have been this day brought before us, John Hathorn and Jonathan Curwin, Esquires; being accused and suspected of perpetrating divers acts of Witchcraft, contrary to the form of the Statute, in that Case made and provided: These are therefore in Their Majesties, King William and Queen Marys Names, to Will and require you, to take into your Custody, the bodies of the said John Aldin, and Sarah Rice, and them safely keep, until they shall thence be delivered by due course of Law; as you will answer the contrary at your peril; and this shall be your sufficient Warrant. Given under our hands at Salem Village, the 31st of May, in the Fourth Year of the Reign of our


Sovereign Lord and Lady, William and Mary, now King and Queen over England, etc., Anno Dom. 1692.

John Hathorn, Assistants. Jonathan Curwin,

To Boston Aldin was carried by a Constable, no Bail would be taken for him; but was delivered to the Prison-keeper, where he remained Fifteen Weeks,[258] and then observing the manner of Tryals, and Evidence then taken, was at length prevailed with to make his Escape, and being returned, was bound over to Answer at the Superior Court at Boston, the last Tuesday in April, Anno 1693. And was there cleared by Proclamation, none appearing against him.

Per John Aldin.

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.

When Goodwife Nurse was informed what use was made of these words, she put in this following Declaration into the Court.

These presents do humbly shew, to the honoured Court and Jury, that I being informed, that the Jury brought me in Guilty, upon my saying that Goodwife Hobbs and her Daughter were of our Company; but I intended no otherways, then as[266] they were Prisoners with us, and therefore did then, and yet do judge them not legal Evidence against their fellow Prisoners. And I being something hard of hearing, and full of grief, none informing me how the Court took up my words, and therefore had not opportunity to declare what I intended, when I said they were of our Company.

Rebecka Nurse.

After her Condemnation she was by one of the Ministers of Salem excommunicated;[267] yet the Governour saw cause to grant a Reprieve, which when known (and some say immediately upon granting) the Accusers renewed their dismal out-cries against her, insomuch that the Governour was by some Salem Gentleman prevailed with to recall the Reprieve, and she was Executed with the rest.


The Testimonials of her Christian behaviour, both in the course of her Life, and at her Death, and her extraordinary care in educating her Children, and setting them good Examples, etc., under the hands of so many, are so numerous, that for brevity they are here omitted.[268]

It was at the Tryal of these that one of the Accusers cried out publickly of Mr. Willard Minister in Boston,[269] as afflicting of her; she was sent out of the Court, and it was told about she was mistaken in the person.

August 5. The Court again sitting, six more were tried on the same Account, viz. Mr. George Burroughs, sometime minister of Wells, John Procter, and Elizabeth Procter his Wife, with John Willard of Salem-Village, George Jacobs Senior, of Salem, and Martha Carryer of Andover;[270] these were all brought in Guilty and Condemned; and were all Executed Aug. 19, except Procter's Wife, who pleaded Pregnancy.[271]

Mr. Burroughs was carried in a Cart with the others, through the streets of Salem to Execution; when he was upon the Ladder, he made a Speech for the clearing of his Innocency, with such Solemn and Serious Expressions, as were to the Admiration of all present; his Prayer (which he concluded by repeating the Lord's Prayer,) was so well worded, and uttered with such composedness, and such (at least seeming) fervency of Spirit, as was very affecting, and drew Tears from many (so that it seemed to some, that the Spectators would hinder


the Execution). The accusers said the black Man stood and dictated to him; as soon as he was turned off, Mr. Cotton Mather, being mounted upon a Horse, addressed himself to the People, partly to declare, that he was no ordained Minister, and partly to possess the People of his guilt; saying, That the Devil has often been transformed into an Angel of Light; and this did somewhat appease the People, and the Executions went on; when he was cut down, he was dragged by the Halter to a Hole, or Grave, between the Rocks, about two foot deep, his Shirt and Breeches being pulled off, and an old pair of Trousers of one Executed, put on his lower parts, he was so put in, together with Willard and Carryer, one of his Hands and his Chin, and a Foot of one [of] them being left uncovered.[272]

John Willard had been imployed to fetch in several that were accused; but taking dissatisfaction from his being sent, to fetch up some that he had better thoughts of, he declined the Service, and presently after he himself was accused of the same Crime, and that with such vehemency, that they sent after him to apprehend him; he had made his Escape as far as Nashawag,[273] about 40 Miles from Salem; yet'tis said those Accusers did then presently tell the exact time, saying, now Willard is taken.

John Procter and his Wife being in Prison, the Sheriff came to his House and seized all the Goods, Provisions, and Cattle that he could come at, and sold some of the Cattle at half price, and killed others, and put them up for the West-Indies; threw out the Beer out of a Barrel, and carried away the Barrel; emptied a Pot of Broath, and took away the Pot, and left nothing in the House for the support of the Children: No part of the said Goods are known to be returned. Procter earnestly requested Mr. Noyes to pray with and for him, but


it was wholly denied, because he would not own himself to be a Witch.

During his Imprisonment he sent the following Letter, in behalf of himself and others.


Mr. Mather, Mr. Allen, Mr. Moody, Mr. Willard, and Mr. Bailey[274]
Reverend Gentlemen.

The innocency of our Case with the Enmity of our Accusers and our Judges, and Jury, whom nothing but our Innocent Blood will serve their turn, having Condemned us already before our Tryals, being so much incensed and engaged against us by the Devil, makes us bold to Beg and Implore your Favourable Assistance of this our Humble Petition to his Excellency, That if it be possible our Innocent Blood may be spared, which undoubtedly otherwise will be shed, if the Lord doth not mercifully step in. The Magistrates, Ministers, Jewries,[275] and all the People in general, being so much inraged and incensed against us by the Delusion of the Devil, which we can term no other, by reason we know in our own Consciences, we are all Innocent Persons. Here are five Persons who have lately


confessed themselves to be Witches, and do accuse some of us, of being along with them at a Sacrament, since we were committed into close Prison, which we know to be Lies. Two of the 5 are (Carriers Sons[276]) Young-men, who would not confess any thing till they tyed them Neck and Heels[277] till the Blood was ready to come out of their Noses, and 'tis credibly believed and reported this was the occasion of making them confess that[278] they never did, by reason they said one had been a Witch a Month, and another five Weeks, and that their Mother had made them so, who has been confined here this nine Weeks. My son William Procter, when he was examin'd, because he would not confess that he was Guilty, when he was Innocent, they tyed him Neck and Heels till the Blood gushed out at his Nose, and would have kept him so 24 Hours, if one more Merciful than the rest, had not taken pity on him, and caused him to be unbound. These actions are very like the Popish Cruelties. They have already undone us in our Estates, and that will not serve their turns, without our Innocent Bloods. If it cannot be granted that we can have our


Trials at Boston, we humbly beg that you would endeavour to have these Magistrates changed, and others in their rooms, begging also and beseeching you would be pleased to be here, if not all, some of you at our Trials, hoping thereby you may be the means of saving the shedding our Innocent Bloods, desiring your Prayers to the Lord in our behalf, we rest your Poor Afflicted Servants,

John Procter, etc.

He pleaded very hard at Execution, for a little respite of time, saying that he was not fit to Die; but it was not granted.

Old Jacobs being Condemned, the Sheriff and Officers came and seized all he had, his Wife had her Wedding Ring taken from her, but with great difficulty obtained it again. She was forced to buy Provisions of the Sheriff, such as he had taken, towards her own support, which not being sufficient, the Neighbours of Charity relieved her.[279]

Margaret Jacobs being one that had confessed her own Guilt, and testified against her Grand-Father Jacobs, Mr. Burroughs, and John Willard, She the day before Executions, came to Mr. Burroughs, acknowledging that she had belyed them,[280] and begged Mr. Burroughs Forgiveness, who not only


forgave her, but also Prayed with and for her. She wrote the following Letter to her Father.


From the Dungeon,
Honoured Father,

After my Humble Duty Remembred to you, hoping in the Lord of your good Health, as Blessed be God I enjoy, tho in abundance of Affliction, being close confined here in a loathsome Dungeon, the Lord look down in mercy upon me, not knowing how soon I shall be put to Death, by means of the Afflicted Persons; my Grand-Father having Suffered already, and all his Estate Seized for the King. The reason of my Confinement is this, I having, through the Magistrates Threatnings, and my own Vile and Wretched Heart, confessed several things contrary to my Conscience and Knowledg, tho to the Wounding of my own Soul, the Lord pardon me for it; but Oh! the terrors of a wounded Conscience who can bear. But blessed be the Lord, he would not let me go on in my Sins, but in mercy I hope so my Soul would not suffer me to keep it in any longer, but I was forced to confess the truth of all before the Magistrates, who would not believe me, but tis their pleasure to put me in here, and God knows how soon I shall be put to death. Dear Father, let me beg your Prayers to the Lord on my behalf, and send us a Joyful and Happy meeting in Heaven. My Mother poor Woman is very Crazey, and


remembers her kind Love to you, and to Uncle, viz. D. A.[281] So leaving you to the protection of the Lord, I rest your Dutiful Daughter,

Margaret Jacobs.

At the time appointed for her Tryal, she had an Imposthume in her head, which was her Escape.[282]

September 9. Six more were tried, and received Sentance of Death, viz. Martha Cory of Salem-Village, Mary Easty of Topsfield, Alice Parker and Ann Pudeater of Salem, Dorcas Hoar of Beverly, and Mary Bradberry of Salisbury.[283] September 16, Giles Cory was prest to Death.

September 17. Nine more received Sentance of Death, viz. Margaret Scot of Rowly, Goodwife Redd of Marblehead, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker of Andover, also Abigail Falkner of Andover, who pleaded Pregnancy, Rebecka Eames of Boxford, Mary Lacy, and Ann Foster of Andover, and Abigail Hobbs of Topsfield.[284] Of these Eight were Executed,


September 22, viz. Martha Cory, Mary Easty, Alice Parker, Ann Pudeater, Margaret Scot, Willmet Redd, Samuel Wardwell, and Mary Parker.

Giles Cory pleaded not Guilty to his Indictment, but would not put himself upon Tryal by the Jury (they having cleared none upon Tryal) and knowing there would be the same Witnesses against him, rather chose to undergo what Death they would put him to. In pressing his Tongue being prest out of his Mouth, the Sheriff with his Cane forced it in again, when he was dying. He was the first in New-England, that was ever prest to Death.[285]

The Cart going up the Hill with these Eight to Execution, was for some time at a sett; the afflicted and others said, that the Devil hindred it, etc.

Martha Cory, Wife to Giles Cory, protesting her Innocency, concluded her Life with an Eminent Prayer upon the Ladder.

Wardwell having formerly confessed himself Guilty, and after denied it, was soon brought upon his Tryal; his former Confession and Spectre Testimony was all that appeared against him. At Execution while he was speaking to the People, protesting his Innocency, the Executioner being at the same time smoaking Tobacco, the smoak coming in his Face, interrupted his Discourse, those Accusers said, the Devil hindred him with smoak.

Mary Easty, Sister also to Rebecka Nurse, when she took


her last farewell of her Husband, Children and Friends, was, as is reported by them present, as Serious, Religious, Distinct, and Affectionate as could well be exprest, drawing Tears from the Eyes of almost all present. It seems besides the Testimony of the Accusers and Confessors, another proof, as it was counted, appeared against her, it having been usual to search the Accused for Tets; upon some parts of her Body, not here to be named, was found an Excrescence, which they called a Tet. Before her Death she put up the following Petition:

To the Honorable Judge and Bench now sitting in Judicature in Salem and the Reverend Ministers, humbly sheweth, That whereas your humble poor Petitioner being Condemned to die, doth humbly beg of you, to take it into your Judicious and Pious Consideration, that your poor and humble Petitioner knowing my own Innocency (blessed be the Lord for it) and seeing plainly the Wiles and Subtilty of my Accusers, by my self, cannot but judge charitably of others, that are going the same way with my self, if the Lord step not mightily in. I was confined a whole Month on the same account that I am now condemned for, and then cleared by the Afflicted persons, as some of your Honours know, and in two days time I was cried out upon by them, and have been confined, and now am condemned to die. The Lord above knows my Innocency then, and likewise doth now, as at the great day will be known to Men and Angels. I Petition to your Honours not for my own Life, for I know I must die, and my appointed time is set; but the Lord he knows it is, if it be possible, that no more Innocent Blood be shed, which undoubtedly cannot be avoided in the way and course you go in. I question not, but your Honours do to the utmost of your powers, in the discovery and detecting of Witchcraft and Witches, and would not be guilty of Innocent Blood for the World; but by my own Innocency I know you are in the wrong way. The Lord in his infinite Mercy direct you in this great work, if it be his blessed will, that Innocent Blood be not shed; I would humbly beg of you, that your Honours would be pleased to Examine some of those confessing Witches, I being confident there are several of them have belyed themselves and others, as will appear, if not in this World, I am sure in the World to come, whither I am going; and I question not, but your selves will see an alteration in these things: They say, my self and others have made a league with the Devil, we cannot confess. I know and the Lord he knows (as will shortly appear) they belye me, and so I question not but they do others; the Lord alone, who is the searcher of all hearts, knows that as I shall answer it at the


Tribunal Seat, that I know not the least thing of Witchcraft, therefore I cannot, I durst not belye my own Soul. I beg your Honours not to deny this my humble Petition, from a poor dying Innocent person, and I question not but the Lord will give a blessing to your Endeavours.

Mary Esty.

After Execution Mr. Noyes turning him to the Bodies, said, what a sad thing it is to see Eight Firebrands of Hell hanging there.

In October 1692, One of Wenham[286] complained of Mrs. Hale, whose Husband, the Minister of Beverly, had been very forward in these Prosecutions, but being fully satisfied of his Wives sincere Christianity, caused him to alter his Judgment; for it was come to a stated Controversie, among the New-England Divines, whether the Devil could Afflict in a good Man's shape; it seems nothing else could convince him: yet when it came so near to himself, he was soon convinc'd that the Devil might so Afflict.[287] Which same reason did after


wards prevail with many others; and much influenced to the succeeding change at Tryals.[288]

October 7. (Edward Bishop and his Wife having made their Escape out of Prison) this day Mr. Corwin the Sheriff, came and Seiz'd his Goods, and Cattle, and had it not been for his second Son (who borrowed Ten Pound and gave it him) they had been wholly lost, the Receipt follows; but it seems they must be content with such a Receipt as he would give them.

Received this 7th day of October 1692, of Samuel Bishop of the Town of Salem, of the County of Essex, in New-England, Cordwainer, in full satisfaction, a valuable Summ of Money, for the Goods and Chattels of Edward Bishop, Senior, of the Town and County aforesaid, Husbandman; which Goods and Chattels being seized, for that the said Edward Bishop, and Sarah his Wife, having been committed for Witchcraft and Felony, have made their Escape; and their Goods and Chattles were forfeited unto their Majesties, and now being in Possession of the said Samuel Bishop; and in behalf of Their Majesties, I do hereby discharge the said Goods and Chattles, the day and year above written, as witness my hand,

George Corwin, Sheriff.

But before this the said Bishops Eldest Son, having Married into that Family of the Putmans,[289] who were chief Prosecutors in this business; he holding a Cow to be branded lest it should be seiz'd, and having a Push or Boyl upon his Thigh, with his straining it broke; this is that that was pretended to be burnt with the said Brand; and is one of the bones thrown to the Dogmatical to pick, in Wonders of the Invisible World, P. 143.[290] the other, of a Corner of a Sheet, pretended to be taken from a Spectre, it is known that it was provided the day before, by that Afflicted person, and the third bone of a Spindle is almost as easily provided, as the piece of the Knife; so that Apollo needs not herein be consulted,[291] etc.


Mr. Philip English and his Wife having made their Escape out of Prison, Mr. Corwin the Sheriff seiz'd his Estate, to the value of about Fifteen Hundred Pound, which was wholly lost to him, except about Three Hundred Pound value, (which was afterward restored.)[292]

After Goodwife Hoar was Condemned, her Estate was seiz'd, and was also bought again for Eight Pound.

George Jacobs, Son to old Jacobs,[293] being accused, he fled, then the Officers came to his House, his Wife was a Woman Crazy in her Senses and had been so several Years. She it seems had been also accused; there were in the House with her only four small Children, and one of them suck'd, her Eldest Daughter[294] being in Prison; the Officer perswaded her out of the House, to go along with him, telling her she should speedily return, the Children ran a great way after her crying.

When she came where the Afflicted were, being asked, they said they did not know her, at length one said, don't you know Jacobs the old Witch, and then they cry'd out of her, and fell down in their Fits; she was sent to Prison, and lay there Ten Months, the Neighbours of pitty took care of the Children to preserve them from perishing.

About this time a New Scene was begun, one Joseph Ballard of Andover, whose Wife was ill (and after died of a Fever) sent to Salem for some of those Accusers, to tell him who


afflicted his Wife; others did the like: Horse and Man were sent from several places to fetch those Accusers who had the Spectral sight, that they might thereby tell who afflicted those that were any ways ill.

When these came into any place where such were, usually they fell into a Fit; after which being asked who it was that afflicted the person, they would, for the most part, name one whom they said sat on the head, and another that sat on the lower parts of the afflicted. Soon after Ballard's sending (as above) more than Fifty of the People of Andover were complained of, for afflicting their Neighbours. Here it was that many accused themselves, of Riding upon Poles through the Air; Many Parents believing their Children to be Witches, and many Husbands their Wives, etc. When these Accusers came to the House of any upon such account, it was ordinary for other young People to be taken in Fits, and to have the same Spectral sight.

Mr. Dudley Bradstreet,[295] a Justice of Peace in Andover, having granted out Warrants against, and Committed Thirty or Forty to Prisons, for the supposed Witchcrafts, at length saw cause to forbear granting out any more Warrants. Soon after which he and his Wife were cried out of, himself was (by them) said to have killed Nine persons by Witchcraft, and found it his safest course to make his Escape.

A Dog being afflicted at Salem-Village, those that had the Spectral sight being sent for, they accused Mr. John Bradstreet (Brother to the Justice) that he afflicted the said Dog, and now rid upon him: He made his Escape into Pescattequa-Government,[296] and the Dog was put to death, and was all of the Afflicted that suffered death.

At Andover, the Afflicted complained of a Dog, as afflicting of them, and would fall into their Fits at the Dogs looking upon them; the Dog was put to death.

A worthy Gentleman of Boston, being about this time accused by those at Andover, he sent by some particular Friends a Writ to Arrest those Accusers in a Thousand Pound Action for Defamation, with instructions to them, to inform themselves of the certainty of the proof, in doing which their business was


perceived, and from thence forward the Accusations at Andover generally ceased.[297]

In October some of these Accusers were sent for to Glocester, and occasioned four Women to be sent to Prison, but Salem Prison being so full it could receive no more, two were sent to Ipswich Prison. In November they were sent for again by Lieutenant Stephens, who was told that a Sister of his was bewitched; in their way passing over Ipswich-bridge, they met with an old Woman, and instantly fell into their Fits: But by this time the validity of such Accusations being much questioned, they found not that Encouragement they had done elsewhere, and soon withdrew.

These Accusers swore that they saw three persons sitting upon Lieutenant Stephens's Sister till she died; yet Bond was accepted for those Three.

And now Nineteen persons having been hang'd, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were Members of some of the Churches in N. England, and more than half of them of a good Conversation in general, and not one clear'd; About Fifty having confest themselves to be Witches, of which not one Executed; above an Hundred and Fifty in Prison, and above Two Hundred more accused; The Special Commission of Oyer and Terminer comes to a period,[298] which has no other foundation than the Governours Commission,[299] and had proceeded in the manner of swearing Witnesses, viz. By holding up the hand, (and by receiving Evidences in writing) according to the Ancient Usage of this Countrey; as also having their Indictments in English. In the Tryals, when any were Indicted for Afflicting, Pining, and wasting the Bodies of particular persons by Witchcraft; it was usual to hear Evidence of matter foreign, and of perhaps Twenty or Thirty years standing, about over-setting Carts, the death of Cattle, un


kindness to Relations, or unexpected Accidents befalling after some quarrel. Whether this was admitted by the Law of England, or by what other Law, wants to be determined; the Executions seemed mixt, in pressing to death for not pleading, which most agrees with the Laws of England, and Sentencing Women to be hanged for Witchcraft, according to the former practice of this Country, and not by burning, as is said to have been the Law of England.[300] And though the confessing Witches were many; yet not one of them that confessed their own guilt, and abode by their Confession were put to Death.[301]

Here followeth what account some of those miserable Creatures give of their Confession under their own hands.

We whose Names are under written, Inhabitants of Andover, when as that horrible and tremendous Judgment beginning at Salem-Village, in the Year 1692, (by some) call'd Witchcraft, first breaking forth at Mr. Parris's House, several Young persons being seemingly afflicted, did accuse several persons for afflicting them, and many there believing it so to be; we being informed that if a person were sick, that the afflicted persons could tell, what or who was the cause of that sickness. Joseph Ballard of Andover (his Wife being sick at the same time) he either from himself, or by the advice of others, fetch'd two of the persons call'd the afflicted persons, from Salem-Village to Andover. Which was the beginning of that dreadful Calamity that befel us in Andover. And the Authority in Andover, believing the said Accusations to be true, sent for the said persons to come together, to the Meeting-house in Andover (the afflicted persons


being there.) After Mr. Bernard[302] had been at Prayer, we were blindfolded, and our hands were laid upon the afflicted persons, they being in their Fits, and falling into their Fits at our coming into their presence (as they said) and some led us and laid our hands upon them, and then they said they were well, and that we were guilty of afflicting of them; whereupon we were all seized as Prisoners, by a Warrant from the Justice of the Peace, and forthwith carried to Salem. And by reason of that suddain surprizal, we knowing our selves altogether Innocent of that Crime, we were all exceedingly astonished and amazed, and consternated and affrighted even out of our Reason; and our nearest and dearest Relations, seeing us in that dreadful condition, and knowing our great danger, apprehending that there was no other way to save our lives, as the case was then circumstantiated, but by our confessing our selves to be such and such persons, as the afflicted represented us to be, they out of tender love and pitty perswaded us to confess what we did confess. And indeed that Confession, that is said we made, was no other than what was suggested to us by some Gentlemen; they telling us, that we were Witches, and they knew it, and we knew it, and they knew that we knew it, which made us think that it was so; and our understanding, our reason, and our faculties almost gone, we were not capable of judging our condition; as also the hard measures they used with us, rendred us uncapable of making our Defence; but said any thing and every thing which they desired, and most of what we said, was but in effect a consenting to what they said. Sometime after when we were better composed, they telling of us what we had confessed, we did profess that we were Innocent, and Ignorant of such things. And we hearing that Samuel Wardwell had renounced his Confession, and quickly after Condemned and Executed, some of us were told that we were going after Wardwell.

Mary Osgood, Mary Tiler, Deliv. Dane, Abigail Barker, Sarah Wilson, Hannah Tiler.[303]

It may here be further added concerning those that did Confess, that besides that powerful Argument, of Life (and


freedom from hardships and Irons not only promised, but also performed to all that owned their guilt), There are numerous Instances, too many to be here inserted, of the tedious Examinations before private persons, many hours together; they all that time urging them to Confess (and taking turns to perswade them) till the accused were wearied out by being forced to stand so long, or for want of Sleep, etc. and so brought to give an Assent to what they said; they then asking them , Were you at such a Witch-meeting, or have you signed the Devil's Book, etc. upon their replying, yes, the whole was drawn into form as their Confession.

But that which did mightily further such Confessions, was their nearest and dearest Relations urging them to it. These seeing no other way of escape for them, thought it the best advice that could be given; hence it was that the Husbands of some, by counsel often urging, and utmost earnestness, and Children upon their Knees intreating, have at length prevailed with them, to say they were guilty.[304]

As to the manner of Tryals, and the Evidence taken for Convictions at Salem, it is already set forth in Print, by the


Reverend Mr. Cotton Mather, in his Wonders of the Invisible World , at the Command of his Excellency, Sir William Phips; with not only the Recommendation, but thanks of the Lieutenant Governour;[305] and with the Approbation of the Reverend Mr. J. M.[306] in his Postscript to his Cases of Conscience;


which last Book was set forth by the consent of the Ministers in and near Boston.[307]

Two of the Judges have also given their Sentiments in these words, p. 147.

The Reverend and worthy Author, having at the direction of his Excellency the Governour, so far obliged the Publick, as to give some account of the sufferings, brought upon the Countrey by Witchcrafts, and of the Tryals which have passed upon several executed for the same.

Upon perusal thereof, We find the matters of Fact and Evidence truly reported, and a prospect given of the Methods of Conviction, used in the proceedings of the Court at Salem.

William Stoughton, Samuel Sewall.

And considering that this may fall into the hands of such as never saw those Wonders, it may be needful to transcribe the whole account he has given thereof, without any variation (but with one of the Indictments annext to the Tryal of each).[308]

Thus far the Account given in Wonders of the Invisible World; in which setting aside such words as these, in the Tryal of G. B. viz., “They (i. e. the Witnesses) were enough to fix the character of a Witch upon him.”[309]

In the Tryal of Bishop, these words, “but there was no need of them,” i. e. of further Testimony.[310]

In the Tryal of How, where it is said, “and there came in Testimony of preternatural Mischiefs, presently befalling some that had been instrumental to debar her from the Communion, whereupon she was intruding.”[311] Martin is call'd “one of


the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked Creatures in the World.” In his Account of Martha Carryer, he is pleased to call her “a Rampant Hag,”[312] etc.

These Expressions, as they manifest that he wrote more like an Advocate than an Historian,[313] so also that those that were his Imployers[314] were not mistaken in their choice of him for that work, however he may have mist it in other things.

As in his owning (in the Tryal of G. B.) That the Testimony of the bewitched and confessors was not enough against the Accused, for it is known that not only in New-England, such Evidence has been taken for sufficient, but also in England, as himself there owns, and will also hold true of Scotland, etc., they having proceeded upon such Evidence, to the taking away of the Lives of many, to assert that this is not enough is to tell the World that such Executions were but so many Bloody Murders; which surely was not his intent to say.

His telling that the Court began to think that Burroughs stept aside to put on invisibility, is a rendring them so mean Philosophers, and such weak Christians, as to be fit to be imposed upon by any silly pretender.

His calling the Evidence against How trivial, and others against Burroughs, he accounts no part of his Conviction; and that of lifting a Gun with one Finger, its being not made use of as Evidence, renders the whole but the more perplext. (Not to mention the many mistakes therein contain'd.)[315]

Yet all this (and more that might have been hinted at) does not hinder, but that his Account of the manner of Trials of those for Witchcraft is as faithfully related as any Tryals of that kind, that was ever yet made publick;[316] and it may also


be reasonably thought that there was as careful a Scrutiny, and as unquestion'd Evidences improved, as had been formerly used in the Tryals of others, for such crimes in other places. Tho indeed a second part might be very useful, to set forth which was the Evidence Convictive in these Tryals, for it is not supposed, that Romantick or Ridiculous stories should have any influence, such as biting a Spectres Finger, so that the Blood flowed out, or such as Shattock's Story of 12 Years standing, which yet was presently 18 Years or more, and yet a Man of that excellent Memory, as to be able to recall a small difference his Wife had with another Woman, when Eighteen Years were past.[317]

As it is not to be supposed that such as these could Influence any Judge or Jury, so not unkindness to relations, or God's having given to one Man more strength than to some others, the over-setting of Carts, or the death of Cattle, nor yet Excrescencies (call'd Tets) nor little bits of Rags tied together (call'd Poppets.) Much less any persons illness, or having their Cloaths rent when a Spectre has been well banged, much less the burning the Mares Fart, mentioned in the Tryal of How.[318]

None of these being in the least capable of proving the Indictment; The supposed Criminals were Indicted for Afflicting, etc., such and such particular persons by Witchcraft, to which none of these Evidences have one word to say, and the Afflicted and Confessors being declared not enough, the matter needs yet further explaining.[319]


But to proceed, the General Court having sat and enacted Laws, particularly one against Witchcraft, assigning the Penalty of Death to any that shall feed, reward or employ, etc., Evil Spirits, though it has not yet been explained what is intended thereby, or what it is to feed, reward or imploy Devils, etc., yet some of the Legislators have given this instead of an Explanation, that they had therein but Copied the Law of another Country.[320]


January 3. By vertue of an Act of the General Court, the first Superior Court was held at Salem, for the County of Essex, the Judges appointed were Mr. William Stoughton (the Lieutenant Governour) Thomas Danforth, John Richards, Wait Winthorp,[321] and Samuel Sewall, Esquires, Where Ignoramus[322] was found upon the several Bills of Indictment against Thirty, and Billa Vera[323] against Twenty six more; of all these Three only were found Guilty by the Jewry upon Trial, two of which were (as appears by their Behaviour) the most senseless and Ignorant Creatures that could be found;[324] besides which it does not appear what came in against those more than against the rest that were acquitted.[325]

The Third was the Wife of Wardwell, who was one of the Twenty Executed, and it seems they had both confessed themselves Guilty; but he retracting his said Confession, was tried and Executed;[326] it is supposed that this Woman fearing her Husbands fate, was not so stiff in her denyals of her former Confession, such as it was. These Three received Sentence of Death.

At these Tryals some of the Jewry made Inquiry of the Court, what Account they ought to make of the Spectre Evidence? and received for Answer “as much as of Chips in Wort.”[327]

January 31, 169 2/3. The Superior Court began at Charles-town, for the County of Middlesex, Mr. Stoughton, Mr. Danforth, Mr. Winthorp, and Mr. Sewall Judges, where several had Ignoramus returned upon their Bills of Indictment, and Billa Vera upon others.

In the time the Court sat, word was brought in, that a Reprieve was sent to Salem,[328] and had prevented the Execution of Seven of those that were there Condemned, which so moved the chief Judge,[329] that he said to this effect, “We were in a way to have cleared the Land of these, etc., who it is obstructs


the course of Justice I know not; the Lord be merciful to the Countrey,” and so went off the Bench, and came no more that Court: The most remarkable of the Tryals, was of Sarah Daston, she was a Woman of about 70 or 80 Years of Age. To usher in her Tryal, a report went before, that if there were a Witch in the World she was one, as having been so accounted of, for 20 or 30 Years; which drew many People from Boston, etc., to hear her Tryal. There were a multitude of Witnesses produced against her; but what Testimony they gave in seemed wholly forreign, as of accidents, illness, etc., befalling them, or theirs after some Quarrel; what these testified was much of it of Actions said to be done 20 Years before that time. The Spectre-Evidence was not made use of in these Tryals, so that the Jewry soon brought her in not Guilty; her Daughter and Grand-daughter, and the rest that were then tried, were also acquitted. After she was cleared Judge Danforth Admonished her in these words, “Woman, Woman, repent, there are shrewd things come in against you”; she was remanded to Prison for her Fees, and there in a short time expired. One of Boston that had been at the Tryal of Daston, being the same Evening in company with one of the Judges in a publick place, acquainted him that some that had been both at the Tryals at Salem and at this at Charlestown, had asserted that there was more Evidence against the said Daston than against any at Salem, to which the said Judge conceeded, saying, That it was so. It was replied by that person, that he dare give it under his hand, that there was not enough come in against her to bear a just reproof.[330]

April 25, 1693. The first Superiour Court was held at Boston, for the County of Suffolk, the Judges were the Lieutenant Governour, Mr. Danforth, Mr. Richards and Mr. Sewall, Esquires.

Where (besides the acquitting Mr. John Aldin by Proclamation) the most remarkable was, what related to Mary Watkins, who had been a Servant, and lived about Seven Miles from Boston, having formerly Accused her Mistress of Witch


craft, and was supposed to be distracted, she was threatned if she persisted in such Accusations to be punished; this with the necessary care to recover her Health, had that good effect, that she not only had her Health restored, but also wholly acquitted her Mistress of any such Crimes, and continued in Health till the return of the Year, and then again falling into Melancholly humours she was found strangling her self; her Life being hereby prolonged, she immediately accused her self of being a Witch; was carried before a Magistrate and committed. At this Court a Bill of Indictment was brought to the Grand Jury against her, and her confession upon her Examination given in as Evidence, but these not wholly satisfied herewith, sent for her, who gave such account of her self, that they (after they had returned into the Court to ask some Questions) Twelve of them agreed to find Ignoramus, but the Court was pleased to send them out again, who again at coming in returned it as before.

She was continued for some time in Prison, etc., and at length was sold to Virginia.[331] About this time the Prisoners in all the Prisons were released.[332]

To omit here the mentioning of several Wenches in Boston, etc., who pretended to be Afflicted, and accused several, the Ministers often visiting them, and praying with them, concerning whose Affliction Narratives are in being in Manuscript.[333] Not only these, but the generality of those Accusers may have since convinc'd the Ministers by their vicious courses that they might err in extending too much Charity to them.

The conclusion of the whole in the Massachusetts Colony was, Sir William Phips, Governour, being call'd home, before he went he pardon'd such as had been condemned, for which they gave about 30 Shillings each to the Kings Attorney.[334]


In August 1697. The Superiour Court sat at Hartford, in the Colony of Connecticut, where one Mistress Benom was tried for Witchcraft, she had been accused by some Children that pretended to the Spectral sight; they searched her several times for Tets; they tried the Experiment of casting her into the Water,[335] and after this she was Excommunicated by the Minister of Wallinsford.[336] Upon her Tryal nothing material appearing against her, save Spectre Evidence, she was acquitted, as also her Daughter, a Girl of Twelve or Thirteen Years old, who had been likewise Accused; but upon renewed Complaints against them, they both fled into New-York Government.[337]

Before this the Government Issued forth the following Proclamation.[338]

By the Honourable the Lieutenant Governour, Council and Assembly of his Majesties Province of the Massachusetts Bay, in General Court Assembled.

Whereas the Anger of God is not yet turned away, but his Hand is still stretched out against his People in manifold Judgments, particularly in drawing out to such a length the troubles of Europe, by a perplexing War; and more especially, respecting ourselves in this Province, in that God is pleased still to go on in diminishing our Substance, cutting short our Harvest, blasting our most promising undertakings more ways than one, unsetling of us,[339] and by his more


Immediate hand, snatching away many out of our Embraces, by sudden and violent Deaths, even at this time when the Sword is devouring so many both at home and abroad, and that after many days of publick and Solemn addressing of him, And altho considering the many Sins prevailing in the midst of us, we cannot but wonder at the Patience and Mercy moderating these Rebukes; yet we cannot but also fear that there is something still wanting to accompany our Supplications. And doubtless there are some particular Sins, which God is Angry with our Israel for, that have not been duly seen and resented by us, about which God expects to be sought, if ever he turn again our Captivity.

Wherefore it is Commanded and Appointed, that Thursday the Fourteenth of January next be observed as a Day of Prayer, with Fasting throughout this Province, strictly forbidding all Servile labour thereon; that so all Gods People may offer up fervent Supplications unto him, for the Preservation, and Prosperity of his Majesty's Royal Person and Government, and Success to attend his Affairs both at home and abroad; that all iniquity may be put away which hath stirred God's Holy jealousie against this Land; that he would shew us what we know not, and help us wherein we have done amiss to do so no more; and especially that whatever mistakes on either hand have been fallen into, either by the body of this People, or any orders of men, referring to the late Tragedy, raised among us by Satan and his Instruments, thro the awful Judgment of God, he would humble us therefore[340]and pardon all the Errors of his Servants and People, that desire to love his Name and be attoned to his Land; that he would remove the Rod of the wicked from off the Lot of the Righteous; that he would bring the American Heathen, and cause them to hear and obey his Voice.

Given at Boston, Decemb. 17, 1696, in the 8th Year of his Majesties Reign.

Isaac Addington, Secretary.

Upon the Day of the Fast in the full Assembly, at the South Meeting-House in Boston, one of the Honourable Judges, who had sat in Judicature in Salem, delivered in a Paper,[341] and while it was in reading stood up, But the Copy being not to be obtained at present, It can only be reported by Memory to this effect, viz. It was to desire the Prayers


of God's People for him and his, and that God having visited his Family, etc., he was apprehensive that he might have fallen into some Errors in the Matters at Salem, and pray that the Guilt of such Miscarriages may not be imputed either to the Country in general, or to him or his family in particular.

Some that had been of several Jewries, have given forth a Paper, Sign'd with their own hands in these words.

We whose names are under written, being in the Year 1692 called to serve as Jurors, in Court at Salem, on Tryal of many, who were by some suspected Guilty of doing Acts of Witchcraft upon the Bodies of sundry Persons:

We confess that we our selves were not capable to understand, nor able to withstand the mysterious delusions of the Powers of Darkness, and Prince of the Air; but were for want of Knowledge in our selves, and better Information from others, prevailed with to take up with such Evidence against the Accused, as on further consideration, and better Information, we justly fear was insufficient for the touching the Lives of any, Deut. 17. 6, whereby we fear we have been instrumental with others, tho Ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon our selves, and this People of the Lord, the Guilt of Innocent Blood; which Sin the Lord saith in Scripture, he would not pardon, 2 Kings 24. 4, that is we suppose in regard of his temporal Judgments. We do therefore hereby signifie to all in general (and to the surviving Sufferers in especial) our deep sense of, and sorrow for our Errors, in acting on such Evidence to the condemning of any person.

And do hereby declare that we justly fear that we were sadly deluded and mistaken, for which we are much disquieted and dis


tressed in our minds; and do therefore humbly beg forgiveness, first of God for Christ's sake for this our Error; And pray that God would not impute the guilt of it to our selves, nor others; and we also pray that we may be considered candidly, and aright by the living Sufferers as being then under the power of a strong and general Delusion, utterly unacquainted with, and not experienced in matters of that Nature.

We do heartily ask forgiveness of you all, whom we have justly offended, and do declare according to our present minds, we would none of us do such things again on such grounds for the whole World; praying you to accept of this in way of Satisfaction for our Offence; and that you would bless the Inheritance of the Lord, that he may be intreated for the Land.

Foreman, Thomas Fisk, William Fisk, John Batcheler, Thomas Fisk, Junior John Dane, Joseph Evelith, Thomas Perly, Senior John Pebody, Thomas Perkins, Samuel Sayer, Andrew Elliott, Henry Herrick, Senior.[342]

Mr. C. M. having been very forward to write Books of Witchcraft, has not been so forward either to explain or defend the Doctrinal part thereof, and his belief (which he had a Years time to compose) he durst not venture so as to be copied.[343]


Yet in this of the Life of Sir William he sufficiently testifies his retaining that Heterodox belief, seeking by frightfull stories of the sufferings of some, and the refined sight of others, etc., P. 69 to obtrude upon the World, and confirm it in such a belief, as hitherto he either cannot or will not defend, as if the Blood already shed thereby were not sufficient.

Mr. I. Mather, in his Cases of Conscience, P. 25, tells of a Bewitched Eye, and that such can see more than others. They were certainly bewitched Eyes that could see as well shut as open, and that could see what never was, that could see the Prisoners upon the Afflicted, harming of them, when those whose Eyes were not bewitched could have sworn that they did not stir from the Bar. The Accusers are said to have suffered much by biting, P. 73. And the prints of just such a set of Teeth, as those they Accused, had, but such as had not such bewitch'd Eyes have seen the Accusers bite themselves, and then complain of the Accused. It has also been seen when the Accused, instead of having just such a set of Teeth, has not had one in his head. They were such bewitched Eyes that could see the Poisonous Powder (brought by Spectres P. 70.) And that could see in the Ashes the print of the Brand, there invisibly heated to torment the pretended Sufferers with, etc.

These with the rest of such Legends have this direct tendency, viz. To tell the World that the Devil is more ready to serve his Votaries, by his doing for them things above or against the course of Nature, shewing himself to them, and making explicit contract with them, etc., than the Divine Being is to his faithful Servants, and that as he is willing, so also able to perform their desires. The way whereby these People are believed to arrive at a power to Afflict their Neighbours, is by a compact with the Devil, and that they have a power to Commissionate him to those Evils, P. 72. However Irrational, or Inscriptural such Assertions are, yet they seem


a necessary part of the Faith of such as maintain the belief of such a sort of Witches.

As the Scriptures know nothing of a covenanting or commissioning Witch, so Reason cannot conceive how Mortals should by their Wickedness arrive at a power to Commissionate Angels, Fallen Angels, against their Innocent Neighbours. But the Scriptures are full in it, and the Instances numerous, that the Almighty, Divine Being has this prerogative to make use of what Instrument he pleaseth, in Afflicting any, and consequently to commissionate Devils: And tho this word commissioning, in the Authors former Books, might be thought to be by inadvertency; yet now after he hath been caution'd of it, still to persist in it seems highly Criminal. And therefore in the name of God, I here charge such belief as guilty of Sacriledge in the highest Nature, and so much worse than stealing Church Plate, etc., As it is a higher Offence to steal any of the glorious Attributes of the Almighty, to bestow them upon Mortals, than it is to steal the Utensils appropriated to his Service. And whether to ascribe such power of commissioning Devils to the worst of Men, be not direct Blasphemy, I leave to others better able to determine. When the Pharisees were so wicked as to ascribe to Beelzebub, the mighty works of Christ (whereby he did manifestly shew forth his Power and Godhead) then it was that our Saviour declar'd the Sin against the Holy Ghost to be unpardonable.

When the Righteous God is contending with Apostate Sinners, for their departures from him, by his Judgments, as Plagues, Earthquakes, Storms and Tempests, Sicknesses and Diseases, Wars, loss of Cattle, etc. Then not only to ascribe this to the Devil, but to charge one another with sending or commissionating those Devils to these things, is so abominable and so wicked, that it requires a better Judgment than mine to give it its just denomination.

But that Christians so called should not only charge their fellow Christians therewith, but proceed to Tryals and Executions; crediting that Enemy to all Goodness, and Accuser of the Brethren, rather than believe their Neighbours in their own Defence; This is so Diabolical a Wickedness as cannot proceed, but from a Doctrine of Devils; how far damnable it is let others discuss. Tho such things were acting in this


Country in Sir Williams time, yet p. 65. there is a Discourse of a Guardian Angel, as then over-seeing it, which notion, however it may suit the Faith of Ethnicks,[344] or the fancies of Trithemius,[345] it is certain that the Omnipresent Being stands not in need as Earthly Potentates do, of governing the World by Vicegerents. And if Sir William had such an Invisible pattern to imitate, no wonder tho some of his Actions were unaccountable, especially those relating to Witchcraft: For if there was in those Actions an Angel super-intending, there is little reason to think it was Gabriel or the Spirit of Mercury, nor Hanael the Angel or Spirit of Venus, nor yet Samuel the Angel or Spirit of Mars; Names feigned by the said Trithemius, etc. It may rather be thought to be Apollyon, or Abaddon.

Obj.[346] But here it will be said, “What, are there no Witches? Do's not the Law of God command that they should be extirpated? Is the Command vain and Unintelligible?” Sol.[347] For any to say that a Witch is one that makes a compact with, and Commissions Devils, etc., is indeed to render the Law of God vain and Unintelligible, as having provided no way whereby they might be detected, and proved to be such; And how the Jews waded thro this difficulty for so many Ages, without the Supplement of Mr. Perkins and Bernard thereto, would be very mysterious. But to him that can read the Scriptures without prejudice from Education, etc., it will manifestly appear that the Scripture is full and Intelligible, both as to the Crime and means to detect the culpable. He that shall hereafter see any person, who to confirm People in a false belief, about the power of Witches and Devils, pretending to a sign to confirm it, such as knocking off of invisible Chains with the hand, driving away Devils by brushing, striking with a Sword or Stick, to wound a person at a great distance, etc., may (according to that head of Mr. Gauls, quoted by Mr. C. M. and so often herein before recited, and so well proved by Scripture) conclude that he has seen Witchcraft performed.


If Baalam became a Sorcerer by Sacrifizing and Praying to the true God against his visible people; Then he that shall pray that the afflicted (by their Spectral Sight) may accuse some other Person (whereby their reputations and lives may be indangered) such will justly deserve the Name of a Sorcerer. If any Person pretends to know more then[348] can be known by humane means, and professeth at the same time that they have it from the Black-Man, i. e. the Devil, and shall from hence give Testimony against the Lives of others, they are manifestly such as have a familiar Spirit; and if any, knowing them to have their Information from the Black-Man, shall be inquisitive of them for their Testimony against others, they therein are dealing with such as have a Familiar-Spirit.

And if these shall pretend to see the dead by their Spectral Sight, and others shall be inquisitive of them, and receive their Answers what it is the dead say, and who it is they accuse, both the one and the other are by Scripture Guilty of Necromancy.

These are all of them crimes as easily proved as any whatsoever, and that by such proof as the Law of God requires, so that it is no Unintelligible Law.

But if the Iniquity of the times be such, that these Criminals not only Escape Indemnified,[349] but are Incouraged in their Wickedness, and made use of to take away the Lives of others, this is worse than a making the Law of God Vain, it being a rendring of it dangerous, against the Lives of Innocents, and without all hopes of better, so long as these Bloody Principles remain.

As long as Christians do Esteem the Law of God to be Imperfect, as not describing that crime that it requires to be Punish'd by Death;

As long as men suffer themselves to be Poison'd in their Education, and be grounded in a False Belief by the Books of the Heathen;

As long as the Devil shall be believed to have a Natural Power, to Act above and against a course of Nature;

As long as the Witches shall be believed to have a Power to Commission him;

As long as the Devils Testimony, by the pretended afflicted,


shall be received as more valid to Condemn, than their Plea of Not Guilty to acquit;

As long as the Accused shall have their Lives and Liberties confirmed and restored to them, upon their Confessing themselves Guilty;

As long as the Accused shall be forc't to undergo Hardships and Torments for their not Confessing;

As long as Tets for the Devil to Suck are searched for upon the Bodies of the accused, as a token of guilt;

As long as the Lords Prayer shall be profaned, by being made a Test, who are culpable;

As long as Witchcraft, Sorcery, Familiar Spirits, and Necromancy, shall be improved to discover who are Witches, etc.,

So long it may be expected that Innocents will suffer as Witches.

So long God will be Daily dishonoured, And so long his Judgments must be expected to be continued.




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.