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The Salem witch trials stand as one of the infamous moments in colonial American history. More than 150 people -- primarily women -- from 24 communities were charged with witchcraft; 19 were hanged and others died in prison. In his introduction to this compact yet comprehensive volume, Richard Godbeer explores the beliefs, fears, and historical context that fueled the witch panic of 1692. The documents in this collection illuminate how the Puritans' worldview led them to seek a supernatural explanation for the problems vexing their community. Presented as case studies, the carefully chosen records from several specific trials offer a clear picture of the gender norms and social tensions that underlie the witchcraft accusations. The final documents cover recantations of confessions, the aftermath of the witch hunt, and statements of regret. A chronology of the witchcraft crisis, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography round out the book's pedagogical support.
RICHARD GODBEER (Ph.D., Brandeis University) is professor of history at the University of Miami. Godbeer's research and teaching interests center on colonial and revolutionary America, with an emphasis on religious culture, gender studies, and the history of sexuality. His first book, The Devil's Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England (1992) won the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Award for the Best First Book. He is also the author of Sexual Revolution in Early America (2002), Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692 (2004), and The Overflowing of Friendship: Love Between Men and the Creation of the American Republic (2009).
Table of Contents
Foreword Preface A Note about the Text
Part One. Introduction: Explaining the Salem Witch Hunt Putting Salem into a Larger Context Puritanism and the Supernatural World Dangerous Women Malevolent Neighbors The Witch Panic of 1692 The Afflicted Girls Trying a Witch The Collapse of the Trials
Part Two. The Documents 1. Signs and Assaults from the Supernatural World 1. The arrival of a Comet and the Death of a Star Preacher 2. Samuel Sewall finds Reassurance in a Rainbow 3. The Death of Cotton Mather's Infant Son 4. Strange Afflictions in the Goodwin Household 5. The Horseshoe Controversy in Newberry, Massachusetts 6. Mary Rowlandson's Account of the Indian Attack on Lancaster 7. Cotton Mather on the Quaker Threat 8. The Dominion of New England 9. Cotton Mather on the Recent History of New England 2. Beginnings 10. John Hale's Account, 1702 11. Deodat Lawson's Account, 1692 12. Samuel Parris on the Outbreak of Witchcraft Accusations in Salem Village, March 27, 1692 13. Samuel Parris's Statement to his Congregation about Mary Sibley's Use of Countermagic, March 27, 1692 3. Witches on Trial Sarah Good 14. Arrest Warrant for Sarah Good, February 29, 1692 15. Examination of Sarah Good, (as recorded by Ezekiel Cheever), March 1, 1692 16. Elizabeth Hubbard against Sarah Good, March 1, 1692 17. Ann Putnam Jr. against Sarah Good, March 1, 1692 18. William Allen, John Hughes, William Good, and Samuel Braybrook against Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, March 5, 1692 19. Abigail Williams against Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, May 23, 1692 20. Indictment against Sarah Good for Afflicting Sarah Bibber, June 28, 1692 21. Sarah Bibber against Sarah Good, June 28, 1692 22. Sarah Gadge and Thomas Gadge against Sarah Good, June 28, 1692 23. Joseph Herrick Sr. and Mary Herrick against Sarah Good, June 28, 1692 24. Samuel Abbey and Mary Abbey against Sarah Good, June 29, 1692 25. Henry Herrick and Jonathan Batchelor against Sarah Good June 29, 1692 26. Samuel Sibley against Sarah Good, June 29, 1692 27. Death Warrant for Sarah Good, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth How, and Sarah Wilds (July 12, 1692) and Officer's Return (July 19, 1692) Tituba 28. First Examination of Tituba, March 1, 1692 29. Second Examination of Tituba, March 2, 1692 30. Elizabeth Hubbard against Tituba, March 1, 1692 31. Ann Putnam Jr. against Tituba, March 1, 1692 32. Indictment against Tituba for Covenanting with the Devil, May 9, 1693 John Proctor 33. Elizabeth Booth against John Proctor, April 11, 1692 34. Abigail Williams against John Proctor, May 31, 1692 35. Physical Examination of John Proctor and John Willard, June 2, 1692 36. Mary Warren against John Proctor, June 30, 1692 37. Petition of John Proctor, July 23, 1692 38. John DeRich against John Proctor and others, August 4, 1692 39. Samuel Sibley against John Proctor, August 5, 1692 40. Petition for John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor, August 5, 1692 41. Petition for John Proctor and Elizabeth Proctor, August 5, 1692 Bridget Bishop 42. Examination of Bridget Bishop (as recorded by Ezekiel Cheever), April 19, 1692 43. William Stacy against Bridget Bishop, May 30, 1692 44. Sarah Churchill and Mary Warren against Bridget Bishop and others, June 1, 1692 45. Physical Examinations of Bridget Bishop and others, June 2, 1692 46. John Bly Sr. and Rebecca Bly against Bridget Bishop, June 2, 1692 47. John Bly Sr. and William Bly against Bridget Bishop, June 2, 1692 48. Richard Coman against Bridget Bishop, June 2, 1692 49. John Louder against Bridget Bishop, June 2, 1692 50. Samuel Shattock and Sarah Shattock against Bridget Bishop, June 2, 1692 51. Susannah Sheldon against Bridget Bishop and others, June 3, 1692 Dorcas Hoar 52. Examination of Dorcas Hoar (as recorded by Samuel Parris), May 2, 1692 53. Sarah Bibber against Dorcas Hoar, July 2, 1692 54. Elizabeth Hubbard against Dorcas Hoar, July 2, 1692 55. Ann Putnam Jr. against Dorcas Hoar, July 2, 1692 56. Mary Walcott against Dorcas Hoar, July 2, 1692 57. Mary Gage against Dorcas Hoar and others, September 6, 1692 58. John Hale against Dorcas Hoar, September 6, 1692 59. Joseph Morgan and Deborah Morgan against Dorcas Hoar, September 6, 1692 60. John Tuck against Dorcas Hoar, September 6, 1692 61. Petition of John Hale, Nicholas Noyes, Daniel Epes, and John Emerson Jr., September 21, 1692 George Burroughs 62. Benjamin Hutchinson against George Burroughs and others, April 22, 1692 63. Examination of George Burroughs (as recorded by Samuel Parris), May 9, 1692 64. Elizar Keyser against George Burroughs, May 9, 1692 65. Mercy Lewis against George Burroughs, May 9, 1692 66. John Putnam Sr. and Rebecca Putnam against George Burroughs, May 9, 1692 67. Mary Walcott against George Burroughs, May 9, 1692 68. Simon Willard and William Wormall against George Burroughs, May 9, 1692 69. Abigail Hobbs, Deliverance Hobbs, and Mary Warren against George Burroughs and others, June 1, 1692 70. Mary Webber against George Burroughs, August 2, 1692 71. Ann Putnam Jr. against George Burroughs, August 3, 1692 72. Physical Examination of George Burroughs and George Jacobs Jr., August 4, 1692 73. Hannah Harris against George Burroughs, August 5, 1692 74. Thomas Greenslit against George Burroughs, September 15, 1692 75. Sarah Wilson and Martha Tyler against George Burroughs, September 15, 1692 4. The Witch Court under Attack 76. Confession of William Barker Sr., August 29, 1692 77. Recantation of Margaret Jacobs, undated 78. Declaration of Mary Osgood, Mary Tyler, Deliverance Dane, Abigail Barker, Sarah Wilson, and Hannah Tyler, undated 79. Increase Mather's Conversation in Prison with Mary Tyler, undated) 80. Sarah Ingersoll for Sarah Churchill, undated 81. The Return of Several Ministers Consulted by His Excellency and the Honorable Council upon the Present Witchcrafts in Salem Village, June 15, 1692 82. Letter from Cotton Mather to John Foster, August 17, 1692 83. Letter from Robert Pike to Jonathan Corwin, August 9, 1692 84. Letter from Thomas Brattle to an Unnamed Clergyman, October 8, 1692 85. Letter from William Phips to William Blathwayt, Clerk of the Privy Council in London, October 12, 1692 5. Aftermath 86. Samuel Parris, “Meditations for Peace”, Read to the Congregation at the Salem Village Church, November 18, 1694 87. Summary of Grievances against Samuel Parris, Read to the Congregation at the Salem Village Church, November 26, 1694 88. A Proclamation, December 17, 1696 89. Public Apology by Samuel Sewall, January 14, 1697 90. Public Apology by Jurymen, undated 91. The Public Confession of Ann Putnam, August 25, 1706 92. Reversals of Conviction, Judgment, and Attainder, October 17, 1711 93. The Massachusetts General Court Makes Restitution, December 17, 1711 94. Reversals of Excommunication at the Church in Salem Town, March 6, 1712 95. John Hale on “Hidden Works of Darkness”, 1702
Appendixes A Chronology of the Salem Witch Hunt (1692-1712) Questions for Consideration Selected Bibliography