November 4, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

The Salem Witch Trials Reader

The Salem Witch Trials Reader

Frances Hill

Language: English

Pages: 448

ISBN: 030680946X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Against the backdrop of a Puritan theocracy threatened by change, in a population terrified not only of eternal damnation but of the earthly dangers of Indian massacres and recurrent smallpox epidemics, a small group of girls denounces a black slave and others as worshipers of Satan. Within two years, twenty men and women are hanged or pressed to death and over a hundred others imprisoned and impoverished. In The Salem Witch Trials Reader, Frances Hill provides and astutely comments upon the actual documents from the trial--examinations of suspected witches, eyewitness accounts of "Satanic influence," as well as the testimony of those who retained their reason and defied the madness. Always drawing on firsthand documents, she illustrates the historical background to the witchhunt and shows how the trials have been represented, and sometimes distorted, by historians--and how they have fired the imaginations of poets, playwrights, and novelists. For those fascinated by the Salem witch trials, this is compelling reading and the sourcebook.

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of doors, went away from the cabin more enslaved than he ever had been previously. From that day, too, he began cautiously to resume his visits, much to the annoyance of Rachel, the perplexity of More, and the anguish of Mark Stanton. By the way, it was none of Stanton’s business, although he was at the cabin at every spare moment, running backwards and forwards between it and the village in the enchanted haze of summer calms, or the weirdest of wizard winds, sometimes even through the demoniac

opinion, that they were under an evil hand. This the neighbours quickly took up, and concluded they were bewitched. He had also an Indian manservant, and his wife who afterwards confessed, that without the knowledge of their master or mistress, they had taken some of the afflicted persons’ urine, and mixing it with meal had made a cake, and baked it, to find out the witch, as they said. After this, the afflicted persons cried out of the Indian woman, named Tituba, that she did pinch, prick, and

the touching the lives of any, Deut, 17. 6, whereby we fear we have been instrumental with others, though ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon ourselves, 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 signify to all in general (and to the surviving sufferers in especial) our deep sense of, and sorrow for our errors, in acting on

was stayed, to whom the pastor spoke to this effect: Brethren, you know some of our brethren have for a time withdrawn from us. I do not understand their methods. They desire to speak with the church: if you gratify them herein, I recommend their motion to you. After a littie discourse it was voted that the church meet 18 May next, after Lecture, at the pastor’s house, and in the meantime brother Benjamin Putnam and brother Sam Sibley to acquaint brother Nurse and brother Tarbell tomorrow

last (elected): Joseph Porter Joseph Hutchinson Joseph Putnam Daniel Andrew Francis Nurse”] *[Here occurs a marginal note in Mr. Parris’s handwriting: “(a) Added by the desire of the Council, this following paragraph; viz., Nevertheless, I fear that in and through the throng of many things written by me, in the late confusions, there has not been a due exactness always used; and, as I now see the inconveniency of my writing so much on those difficult occasions, so I would lament every error of

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