This was done without the knowledge of Parris. The means used to make the discovery, was to make a cake of rye meal, with the urine of the children, and bake it in the ashes, and give it to a dog to eat. Similar disgusting practices appear to have been used to discover and kill witches, during the whole period of the delusion. A few days after the witch cake incident, the girls named three women they believed were bewitching them: Sarah Good , Sarah Osbourne and Tituba. After Tituba was arrested on March 1, she made a shocking confession that she was indeed a witch and warned that there were other witches in Salem.
This confession sparked a mass hysteria and started a massive witch hunt in the colony. Many historians believe that the Putnam family, particularly Thomas Putnam , took advantage of this mass hysteria by accusing people they disapproved of or wanted revenge against. One theory suggest Thomas Putnam solicited the help of Samuel Parris, among many others, in his cause.
George Burroughs, who had friends in Salem Village, desirous of his settlement; and that was a sufficient reason why Parris should appear at the courts against him. We have never seen any proof of this rivalship between these clergymen. It is difficult now to ascertain the cause of the arrest of Burroughs who was preaching at Wells, at the time, in his pulpit.
The girl who accused him of bewitching her, was Mercy Lewis, who was then living with Thomas Putnam. She formerly lived with Burroughs, when he preached at the Village; and, upon one or more occasions, he whipped her severely. This we suspect was the cause of her crying out against Mr. It has been said that Rebecca Nurse was an object of special hatred to Parris; but this we have failed to discover…. We suspect, from an examination of the charges brought against her at the courts, that she had several times severely rebuked the accusing girls for their folly and wickedness, when meeting in their circles.
In this way, she probably incurred the displeasure of Ann Putnam and her mother — her principal accusers. The only thing Parris seemed to do for certain was suggest during his sermons that witches were present in Salem. On March 27, Parris informed his congregation about the witch cake incident with Tituba and expressed feared that it may have raised the Devil in Salem, according to the church records:.
It is also 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.
Samuel Parris’ Early Life:
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 direction from this our sister Mary Sibley: Brethren, If this be your mind that this iniquity should be thus born witness against, manifest it by your usual signe of lifting up your hands. The brethren voted generally, or universally: None made any exceptions. Let us hear it from your own mouth. If herein you have received satisfaction, testify it by lifting up of your hands.
Samuel Parris & the Salem Witch Trials:
A general vote passed: Within the first few lines of the sermon Parris quoted John 6: Parris also suggested during the sermon that the devil could be a fellow church-goer when he stated:. This you and I may be, and yet devils for all that Matth: And however we may pass here, a true difference shall be made shortly. Shortly after, Parris invited neighboring ministers to his house to give advice on what they should do about the presence of witches in Salem.
John Hale, who was an eye witness to many of the transactions at Salem village, and one of the minsters called for consultation, that Mr. Parris proceeded with caution at the commencement of the troubles, and was anxious to seek council and advice. He likewise wished to inform himself on the subject of witchcraft, and for that purpose received as a loan from Dea.
We are among those who believe Mr. Parris was honest in his belief in witchcraft, and that he was not moved in his affair by personal malice, or the desire to promote the cause of religion in his Parish, as has been supposed by the author of the History of Danvers. We have not as yet, found a particle of evidence, that he entertained ill will against those who were accused and executed. John Wesley Hanson, the author of the previously mentioned History of the Town of Danvers, accuses Samuel Parris of being the driving force behind the accusations and suggests Parris could have prevented the witch trials from happening but instead encouraged them:.
Tituba afterwards declared that Mr. Parris had whipped her until he forced a confession from her! Parris seems to have been not quite so malignant as these and some others; he seems to have been desirous of using this excitement to promote a religious awakening in his parish…Had Mr.
Parris and others, whipped their children for accusing instead of whipping them to oblige them to accuse, this great blot upon human nature might have been prevented. According to court records, Samuel Parris testified against nine people: This is a fact because the girls did behave afflicted during the examinations. Whether they were merely pretending to be afflicted is unknown. Parris never made any claims himself about seeing spectral visions or suffering fits or any other claim the other witnesses testified about. Parris has often been accused of being over officious, and a swift witness against the accused at the courts.
Parris could not be said to have been a chief witness in the prosecutions, although he may be said to have been a frequent corroborating witness with his neighbors. The chief witnesses were the accusing girls, as they were called.
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At the preliminary examinations before the magistrates, Parris and others were required to be present, when the depositions were taken down, as related by the girls, and afterwards made use of at the trials by the courts. These being given in and related by children, and young persons, the Court required an endorsement from some older persons, who witnessed their supposed afflictions, and could attest to their depositions.
It is in this way Mr. Parris appears to have been frequently at the examinations of those accused of witchcraft, and put questions to those on trial. He also acted as a recorder to the magistrates more frequently than others. The reason for his being often employed by the courts was simply because he was requested to do so, and was discovered to be well qualified for that purpose.
It was his practice to take down the examinations in short hand, — he being a good stenographer, — and then write them out in full, in a plain, legible hand. Meanwhile, Parris also oversaw the excommunication of several convicted witches in his church and even delivered the news to the victims themselves. One such victim was Martha Corey, whom Parris visited in prison in September, according to the church record book:.
Lords day Sister Martha Corey taken into the Church.
The lawful captive, the captives of the mighty, are sometimes delivered. Parris House, illustration published in Old Naumkeag, circa This appears to actually be an illustration of the parsonage addition built in Other sermons Samuel Parris gave that year that have not been documented include a sermon given on May 8, which was based on the biblical text: The last hangings of the Salem Witch Trials took place on September 22, Shortly after, the court banned spectral evidence, which made most of the witchcraft accusations baseless, and the witch trials began to die down.
The last of the accused witches were released from prison in May of Whatever the reason, in April of , Tituba was sold to an unknown person for the price of her jail fees. It is not known what happened to her husband, John, at this point but it is assumed he was sold alongside Tituba because Puritans were reluctant to separate married slaves.
Mather, however, used his experience with Goodwins to further his notion that New England was in fact a battleground with Satan. Similar themes appear in his sermons and in the Preface to one of his children's books, in which he warns young readers: Are you willing to go to hell and burn with the devil and his angels?
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Thus, the subject of eternal damnation weighed constantly upon Mather's mind, and it resonates in his own diary accounts. Scholars suggest that Mather's dramatic descriptions the devil's activity upon the young Goodwin children may have led to the first cry of witchcraft among the young girls in Salem Village. Although Mather was not directly involved in the proceedings of the Salem witch trials, he wrote a letter to one of the magistrates in the trials, John Richards of Boston, urging caution in the use of spectral evidence. Mather was also the author of the "Return of the Several Ministers," a report sent to the judges of the Salem court.
Reverend Samuel Parris: Was He to Blame for the Salem Witch Trials?
This carefully-worded document advised caution in the use of spectral evidence, saying that the devil could indeed assume the shape of an innocent person, and decrying the use of spectral evidence in the trials, their "noise, company, and openness", and the utilization of witch tests such as the recitation of the Lord's Prayer. However, the final paragraph of the document appears to undercut this cautionary statement in recommending "the detection of witchcrafts". Thus, in Bernard Rosenthal and Perry Miller's opinions, the courts interpreted the letter as Mather's seal of approval for the trials to go on.
Accounts of eye-witnesses and historians paint a more contradictory portrait of Mather's hand in the trials. Mather is haunted in history by the account given in Robert Calef's book More Wonders of the Invisible World of his conduct at the hanging of former Salem minister George Burroughs. Calef reported that Burroughs recited a perfect rendition of the Lord's Prayer while on the gallows, something Mather himself thought impossible for anyone guilty of an alliance with the devil. The crowd was so moved that some wanted to prevent the execution. Mather, mounted on his horse, proclaimed that Burroughs was no ordained minister, and that the "Devil has often been transformed into an Angel of Light.
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Perhaps Cotton's most self-damning act within the public eye was his publication of the volume The Wonders of the Invisible World, in October, , after the final executions. Although Cotton's words describe, and to some degree justify the trials and deaths in Salem that year, the book is anything but resolved with regards to Mather's true feelings about the trials. Although Cotton insists the book is not written in an evil spirit or with any prejudice, he writes of the trials of accused witches such as Bridget Bishop saying there was "little occasion to prove witchcraft, it being evident and notorious to all beholders".
He describes Susanna Martin as, "one of the most impudent, scurrilous, wicked creatures in the world". And worst of all, he condones the use of the spectral evidence to convict the witches of his five cases outlined! In his own letter to William Stoughton, penned during the trial of George Burroughs, Cotton also asserts the guilt of this man, stating he is the ringleader of 10 other witches, a confession received from five Andover witches that "refreshes his soul".
Careful analysis of the document, as well as Mather's own diaries, reveals that he may not have been quite as convinced of the righteousness of the trials as he describes in his book.
Salem Witch Trials: Cotton Mather
A cautious foreword to the manuscript reads, "I live by Neighbours that force me to produce these undeserved lines". Perry Miller describes the whole work as "utter confusion". Robert Calef, author of More Wonders of the Invisible World, published a very different account than Mather's that put Cotton on the defensive for the rest of his life.
Mather cried libel and threatened to sue, but the issue was never resolved and Cotton was forced to bite his tongue and bear what would become a flood of contemporary scorn for his witch-hunting labors. Near the end of his life, his diary records a hint of regret for the thanklessness of the groups he had spurned in his work.
Related Relation of a Memorable Piece of Witchcraft
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