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Salem witchcraft; with an account of Salem village, and a history of opinions on witchcraft and kindred subjects, volume I and II. Upham, Charles Wentworth, 1802-1875

Section Four

In the mean while, preparations had been going on to bring upon the stage a more striking character, and give to the excited public mind a greater shock than had yet been experienced. Intimations had been thrown out that higher culprits than had been so far brought to light were in reserve, and would, in due time, be unmasked. It was hinted that a minister had joined the standard of the Arch-enemy, and was leading the devilish confederacy. In the accounts given of the diabolical sacraments, a man in black had been described, but no name yet given. As Charles the Second, while they were hanging the regicides, at the Restoration, was looking about for a preacher to hang, and used Hugh Peters for the occasion; so the “afflicted children,” or those acting behind them, wanted a minister to complete the dramatis personœ of their tragedy. His connection with the society and its controversies, and the animosities which had thus become attached to him, naturally suggested Mr. Burroughs. He was then pursuing, as usual, a laborious, humble, self-sacrificing ministry, in the midst of perils and privations, away


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down in the frontier settlements on the coast of Maine, and little dreamed of what was brewing, for his ruin and destruction, in his former parish at the village. This is what Thomas Putnam had in his mind when he spoke of a “wheel within a wheel,” and “the high and dreadful” things not then disclosed that were to make “ears tingle.”

It was necessary to be at once cautious and rapid in their movements, to prevent the public from getting information which, by reaching the ears of Burroughs, might put him on his guard. It was no easy thing to secure him at the great distance of his place of residence. If he should become apprised of what was going on, his escape into remoter and inaccessible settlements would have baffled the whole scheme. Nothing therefore was done at the village, but the steps to arrest him originated at Boston. Elisha Hutchinson, a magistrate there, issued the proper order, addressed to John Partridge of Portsmouth, Field-marshal of the provinces of New Hampshire and Maine, dated April 30, 1692, to arrest George Burroughs, “preacher at Wells;” he being “suspected of a confederacy with the Devil.” Partridge was directed to deliver him to the custody of the marshal of Essex, or, not meeting him, was requested to bring him to Salem, and hand him over to the magistrates there. The “afflicted children” had begun, shortly before, to use his name. Abigail Hobbs had resided some years before at Casco; and from her they obtained all the scandal she had heard there, or chose to fabricate to suit the


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purpose of the prosecutors. The way in which the minds of the deluded people were worked up against Mr. Burroughs is illustrated in a deposition subsequently made to this effect: —

Benjamin Hutchinson testified, that, on the 21st of April, 1692, about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, Abigail Williams told him that she saw a person whom she described as Mr. George Burroughs, “a little black minister that lived at Casco Bay.” Mr. Burroughs was of small stature and dark complexion. She gave an account of his wonderful feats of strength, said that he was a wizard; and that he “had killed three wives, two for himself and one for Mr. Lawson.” She affirmed that she saw him then. Mr. Burroughs, it will be borne in mind, was at this time a hundred miles away, at his home in Maine. Hutchinson asked her where she saw him. She said “There,” pointing to a rut in the road made by a cart-wheel. He had an iron fork in his hand, and threw it where she said Burroughs was standing. Instantly she fell into a fit; and, when she came out of it, said, “`You have torn his coat, for I heard it tear.' — `Whereabouts?' said I. `On one side,' said she. Then we came into the house of Lieutenant Ingersoll; and I went into the great room, and Abigail came in and said, `There he stands.' I said, `Where? where?' and presently drew my rapier.” Then Abigail said, he has gone, but “`there is a gray cat.' Then I said, `Whereabouts?' `There!' said she, `there!' Then I struck with my rapier, and she fell into a fit; and, when it


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was over, she said, `You killed her.”' Poor Hutchinson could not see the cat he had killed any more than Burroughs's coat he had torn. Abigail explained the mystery to his satisfaction, by saying that the spectre of Sarah Good had come in at the moment, and carried away the dead cat. This was all in broad daylight; it being, as Hutchinson testified, “about twelve o'clock.” The same day, “after lecture, in said Ingersoll's chamber,” Abigail Williams and Mary Walcot were present. They said that “Goody Hobbs, of Topsfield, had bit Mary Walcot by the foot.” Then both fell into a fit; and on coming out, “they saw William Hobbs and his wife go both of them along the table.” Hutchinson instantly stabbed, with his rapier, “Goody Hobbs on her side,” as the two girls declared. They further said that the room was “full of them,” that is of witches, in their apparitions; then Hutchinson and Eleazer Putnam “stabbed with their rapiers at a venture.” The girls cried out, that they “had killed a great black woman of Stonington, and an Indian who had come with her:” the girls said further, “The floor is all covered with blood;” and, rushing to the window, declared that they saw a great company of witches on a hill, and that three of them “lay dead” there, — “the black woman, the Indian, and one more that they knew not.” This was about four o'clock in the afternoon. This evidence was given and received in court. It shows the audacity with which the girls imposed upon the credulity of a people wrought up by their arts to the highest pitch of insane

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infatuation; and illustrates a condition of things, at that time and place, that is truly astonishing.

On the evening before Hutchinson was imposed upon, as just described, by Abigail Williams and Mary Walcot, Ann Putnam had made most astonishing disclosures, at her father's house, in his presence and that of Peter Prescott, Robert Morrel, and Ezekiel Cheever. An account of the affair was drawn up by her father, and sworn to by her, in these words: —

The Deposition of Ann Putnam, who testifieth and saith, on the 20th of April, 1692, at evening, she saw the apparition of a minister, at which she was grievously affrighted, and cried out, `Oh, dreadful, dreadful! here is a minister come! What! are ministers witches too? Whence came you, and what is your name? for I will complain of you, though you be a minister, if you be a wizard.' Immediately I was tortured by him, being racked and almost choked by him. And he tempted me to write in his book, which I refused with loud outcries, and said I would not write in his book though he tore me all to pieces, but told him it was a dreadful thing that he, which was a minister, that should teach children to fear God, should come to persuade poor creatures to give their souls to the Devil. `Oh, dreadful, dreadful! Tell me your name, that I may know who you are.' Then again he tortured me, and urged me to write in his book, which I refused. And then, presently, he told me that his name was George Burroughs, and that he had had three wives, and that he had bewitched the two first of them to death; and that he killed Mrs. Lawson, because she was so unwilling to go from the Village, and also killed Mr. Lawson's child because he went


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to the eastward with Sir Edmon, and preached so to the soldiers; and that he had bewitched a great many soldiers to death at the eastward when Sir Edmon was there; and that he had made Abigail Hobbs a witch, and several witches more. And he has continued ever since, by times, tempting me to write in his book, and grievously torturing me by beating, pinching, and almost choking me several times a day. He also told me that he was above a witch. He was a conjurer.”

Her father and the other persons present made oath that they saw and heard all this at the time; that “they beheld her tortures and perceived her hellish temptations by her loud outcries, `I will not, I will not write, though you torment me all the days of my life.”' It will be observed that this was the evening before Thomas Putnam wrote his letter to the magistrates, preparing them for something “high and dreadful” that was soon to be brought to light.

A similar scene took place not long afterwards, in the presence of her father and her uncle Edward, to which they also testify. It was thus described by her under oath: —

The Deposition of Ann Putnam, who testifieth and saith, that, on the 8th of May, at evening, I saw the apparition of Mr. George Burroughs, who grievously tortured me, and urged me to write in his book, which I refused. He then told me that his two first wives would appear to me presently, and tell me a great many lies, but I should not believe them. Then immediately appeared to me the forms of two women in winding-sheets, and napkins about


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their heads, at which I was greatly affrighted; and they turned their faces towards Mr. Burroughs, and looked very red and angry, and told him that he had been a cruel man to them, and that their blood did cry for vengeance against him; and also told him that they should be clothed with white robes in heaven, when he should be cast into hell; and immediately he vanished away. And, as soon as he was gone, the two women turned their faces towards me, and looked as pale as a white wall; and told me that they were Mr. Burroughs's two first wives, and that he had murdered them. And one of them told me that she was his first wife, and he stabbed her under the left arm, and put a piece of sealing-wax on the wound. And she pulled aside the winding-sheet, and showed me the place; and also told me, that she was in the house where Mr. Parris now lives, when it was done. And the other told me, that Mr. Burroughs and that wife which he hath now, killed her in the vessel, as she was coming to see her friends, because they would have one another. And they both charged me that I should tell these things to the magistrates before Mr. Burroughs' face; and, if he did not own them, they did not know but they should appear there. This morning, also, Mrs. Lawson and her daughter Ann appeared to me, whom I knew, and told me Mr. Burroughs murdered them. This morning also appeared to me another woman in a winding-sheet, and told me that she was Goodman Fuller's first wife, and Mr. Burroughs killed her because there was some difference between her husband and him.”

This was indeed most extraordinary language and imagery to have been used by a child of twelve years of age. It is not strange, that, upon a community,


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whose fancies and fears had been so long wrought upon, holding their views, the effect was awfully great. The very fact that it was a child that spoke made her declarations seem supernatural. Then, again, they were accompanied with such ocular demonstration, in her terrible bodily sufferings, that none remained in doubt of the truthfulness and reality of what they listened to and beheld. It did not enter their imaginations, for a moment, that there was any deception or imposture, or even delusion, on her part. Her case is truly a problem not easily solved even now. While we are filled with horror and indignation at the thought that she figures as a capital and fatal witness in all the trials, it is impossible not to feel that a wisdom greater than ours is necessary to fathom the dark mystery of the phenomena presented by her and her mother and other accusers, in this monstrous and terrible affair.

These occurrences, happening just before Mr. Burroughs was brought to the village as a prisoner, were bruited from house to house, from mouth to mouth, and worked the people to a state of horrified exasperation against him; and he was met with execration, when, on the 4th of May, Field-marshal Partridge appeared with him at Salem, and delivered him to the jailer there. When we consider the distance and the circumstances of travel at that time, it is evident that the officers charged with the service acted with the greatest promptitude, celerity, and energy. The tradition is, that they found Mr. Burroughs in his humble


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home, partaking of his frugal meal; that he was snatched from the table without a moment's opportunity to provide for his family, or prepare himself for the journey, and hurried on his way roughly, and without the least explanation of what it all meant. As soon as it was known that he was in jail in Salem, arrangements were commenced for his examination. The public mind was highly excited; and it was determined to make the occasion as impressive, effective, and awe-striking as possible. Another “field-day” was to be had. On the 9th of May, a special session of the Magistracy was held, — William Stoughton coming from Dorchester, and Samuel Sewall from Boston, to sit with Hathorne and Corwin, and give greater solemnity and severity to the proceedings. Stoughton presided. The first step in the proceedings was to have a private hearing, in the presence of the magistrates and ministers only; and the report of what passed there gives proof of what is indicated more or less clearly in several passages in the accounts that have come down to us in reference to Mr. Burroughs, — that he was regarded as not wholly sound in doctrine on points not connected with witchcraft, was treated with special severity on that account, and made the victim of bigoted prejudice among his brethren and in the churches. In this secret inquisition, he was called to account for not attending the communion service on one or two occasions; he being a member of the church at Roxbury. It was also brought against him, that none of his children but the eldest had been

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baptized. What the facts, in these respects, were, it is impossible to say; as we know of them only through the charges of his enemies. After this, he was carried to the place of public meeting; and, as he entered the room, “many, if not all, the bewitched were grievously tortured.” After the confusion had subsided, Susanna Sheldon testified that Burroughs' two wives had appeared to her “in their winding-sheets,” and said, “That man killed them.” He was ordered to look on the witness; and, as he turned to do so, he “knocked down,” as the reporter affirms, “all (or most) of the afflicted that stood behind him.” Ann Putnam, and the several other “afflicted children,” bore their testimony in a similar strain against him, interspersing at intervals, all their various convulsions, outcries, and tumblings. Mercy Lewis had “a dreadful and tedious fit.” Walcot, Hubbard, and Sheldon were cast into torments simultaneously. At length, they were “so tortured” that “authority ordered them” to be removed. Their sufferings were greater than the magistrates and people could longer endure to look upon. The question was put to Burroughs, “what he thought of these things.” He answered, “it was an amazing and humbling providence, but he understood nothing of it.” Throwing aside all the foolish and ridiculous gossip and all the monstrous fables that belong to the accusations against him, and looking at the only known facts in his history, it appears that Mr. Burroughs was a man of ingenuous nature, free from guile, unsuspicious of guile in

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others; a disinterested, humble, patient, and generous person. He had suffered much wrong, and endured great hardships in life; but they had not impaired his readiness to labor and suffer for others. There was no combativeness or vindictiveness in his disposition. Even in the midst of the unspeakable outrages he was experiencing on this occasion, he does not appear to be incensed or irritated, but simply “amazed.” To have such horrid crimes laid to him, instead of rousing a violent spirit within him, impressed him with a humbling sense of an inscrutable Providence. There is a remarkable similarity in the manner in which Rebecca Nurse and George Burroughs received the dreadful accusations brought against them. “Surely,” she said, “what sin hath God found out in me unrepented of that he should lay such an affliction upon me in my old age?” His words are, “It is an humbling providence of God.” The more we reflect upon this language, and go to the depths of the spirit that suggested it, the more we realize, that, in each case, it arose from a sanctified Christian heart, and is an attestation in vindication and in honor of the sufferers from whose lips it fell, that outweighs all passions and prejudices, reverses all verdicts, and commands the conviction of all fair and honest minds.

After the “afflicted” had been sent out of the room, there was testimony to show that Mr. Burroughs had given proof of physical strength, which, in a man of his small stature, was sure evidence that he was in league with the Devil. Many marvellous statements


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were made to this effect, some of the most extravagant of which he denied. He undoubtedly was a person of great strength. He had cultivated muscular exercise and development while an undergraduate at Cambridge, and was early celebrated as a gymnast. After a while, the accusers and afflicted were again brought in. Abigail Hobbs testified that she was present at a “witch meeting, in the field near Mr. Parris's house,” in which Mr. Burroughs acted a conspicuous part. Mary Warren swore that “Mr. Burroughs had a trumpet which he blew to summon the witches to their feasts” and other meetings “near Mr. Parris's house.” This trumpet had a sound that reached over the country far and wide, sending its blasts to Andover, and wakening its echoes along the Merrimack, to Cape Ann, and the uttermost settlements everywhere; so that the witches, hearing it, would mount their brooms, and alight, in a moment, in Mr. Parris's orchard, just to the north and west of the parsonage; but its sound was not heard by any other ears than those of confederates with Satan. While the girls were giving their testimony, every once in a while they would be dreadfully choked, appearing to be in the last stages of suffocation and strangulation; and, coming to, at intervals, would charge it upon Burroughs or other witches, calling them by name; generally, however, confining their selection to persons already apprehended, and not bringing in others until measures were matured. Mr. Burroughs was committed for trial.


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The examination of Mr. Burroughs presented a spectacle, all things considered, of rare interest and curiosity, — the grave dignity of the magistrates; the plain, dark figure of the prisoner; the half-crazed, halfdemoniac aspect of the girls; the wild, excited crowd; the horror, rage, and pallid exasperation of Lawson, Goodman Fuller and others, also of the relatives and friends of Burroughs's two former wives, as the deep damnation of their taking off and the secrets of their bloody graves were being brought to light; and the child on the stand telling her awful tale of ghosts in winding-sheets, with napkins round their heads, pointing to their death-wounds, and saying that “their blood did cry for vengeance” upon their murderer. The prisoner stands alone: all were raving around him, while he is amazed; astounded at such folly and wrong in others, and humbly sensible of his own unworthiness; bowed down under the mysterious Providence, that permitted such things for a season, yet strong and steadfast in conscious innocence and uprightness.

To complete the proceedings against Burroughs at this time, and raise to the highest point the public abhorrence of him, effective use was made of Deliverance Hobbs, the wife of William Hobbs, of whom I have spoken before. She was first examined April 22. During the earlier part of the proceedings, she maintained her integrity and protested her innocence in a manner which shows that her self-possession held good. But the examination was protracted; her


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strength was exhausted; the declarations of the accusers, their dreadful sufferings, the prejudgment of the case against her by the magistrates, and the combined influences of all the circumstances around her, broke her down. Her firmness, courage, and truth fled; and she began to confess all that was laid to her charge. The record is interesting as showing how gradually she was overwhelmed and overcome. But while mentioning the names of others whom she pretended to have been associated with as witches, she did not speak of Burroughs. She referred to those who had been brought out before that date, but not to him. The intended movement against him had not then been divulged. On the 3d of May, the day before he arrived, after it was known that officers had been sent to arrest him, she was examined again. On this occasion, she charged Burroughs with having been present, and taken a leading part in witch-meetings, which she had described in detail, at her first examination, without mentioning him at all. This proves that the confessing prisoners were apprised of what it was desired they should say, and that their testimony was prepared for them by the managers of the affair. The following is one of the confessions made by this woman, subsequent to her public examination. I give it partly to show what a flood of falsehood was poured upon Burroughs, and partly because it will serve as a specimen of the stuff of which the confessions were composed: —


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The First Examination of Deliverance Hobbs in Prison. — She continued in the free acknowledging herself to be a covenant witch: and further confesseth she was warned to a meeting yesterday morning, and that there was present Procter and his wife, Goody Nurse, Giles Corey and his wife, Goody Bishop alias Oliver; and Mr. Burroughs was their preacher, and pressed them to bewitch all in the village, telling them they should do it gradually, and not all at once, assuring them they should prevail. He administered the sacrament unto them at the same time, with red bread and red wine like blood. She affirms she saw Osburn, Sarah Good, Goody Wilds, Goody Nurse: and Goody Wilds distributed the bread and wine; and a man in a long-crowned white hat sat next the minister, and they sat seemingly at a table, and they filled out the wine in tankards. The notice of this meeting was given her by Goody Wilds. She, herself affirms, did not nor would not eat nor drink, but all the rest did, who were there present; therefore they threatened to torment her. The meeting was in the pasture by Mr. Parris's house, and she saw when Abigail Williams ran out to speak with them; but, by that time Abigail was come a little distance from the house, this examinant was struck blind, so that she saw not with whom Abigail spake. She further saith, that Goody Wilds, to prevail with her to sign, told her, that, if she would put her hand to the book, she would give her some clothes, and would not afflict her any more. Her daughter, Abigail Hobbs, being brought in at the same time, while her mother was present, was immediately taken with a dreadful fit; and her mother, being asked who it was that hurt her daughter, answered it was Goodman Corey, and she saw him and the gentlewoman of Boston striving to break her daughter's neck.”


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On the next day, warrants were procured against George Jacobs, Sr., and his grand-daughter, Margaret Jacobs. They were forthwith seized and brought in by Constable Joseph Neal, of Salem, whose return is as follows: “May 10, 1692. Then I apprehended the bodies of George Jacobs, Sr., and Margaret, daughter of George Jacobs, Jr., according to the tenor of the above warrant.” The examinations, on this occasion, were held at the house of Thomas Beadle, in the town of Salem. All the preliminary examinations, so far as existing documents show, were either in the meeting at the village or that of the town; or at the house of Nathaniel Ingersoll at the village, or Thomas Beadle in the town, — both being inns, or places of public entertainment. Beadle's house was on the south side of Essex Street, on land now occupied by Nos. 63 and 65. The eastern boundary of the lot was forty feet from Ingersoll's Lane, now Daniels Street. Its front on Essex Street was about sixty feet, and its depth about one hundred and forty-five feet. What is now No. 65 is on the very spot where Beadle's tavern stood; and with the exception of six feet built, as an addition, on the eastern side, subsequently to 1733, is probably the identical house. The ground now occupied by No. 63 was then an open space. It appears by bills of expenses brought “against the country,” that the inn of Samuel Beadle, a brother of Thomas, was also sometimes used for purposes connected with the prosecutions. Thomas Beadle's bill amounted to ¥58. 11s. 5d.; that of Samuel to ¥21. The latter, being


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near the jail, was probably used for the entertainment of constables and the keeping of their horses, as well as other incidental purposes connected with the transportation of prisoners.

A tradition has long prevailed, that the house, still standing, of Judge Jonathan Corwin, at the western corner of North and Essex Streets, was used at these examinations. One form in which this tradition has come down is probably correct. The grand jury was often in session while the jury for trials was hearing cases in the Court-house. There may not have been suitable accommodations for both in that building. The confused sounds and commotions incident to the trials would have been annoying to the grand jury. The tradition is, that a place was provided and used temporarily by that body, in the Corwin house, supposed to have been the spacious room at the southeastern corner. As the investigations of the grand jury were not open to the public, its occasional sittings would not be seriously incompatible with the convenience of a family, or detrimental to the grounds or apartments of a handsome private residence. Indeed, it would hardly have been allowable or practicable to have had the examinations before the magistrates in any other than a public house. They were always frequented by a promiscuous crowd, and generally scenes of tumultuary disorder.

George Jacobs, Sr., was an aged man. He is represented in the evidence as “very gray-headed;” and he must have been quite infirm, for he walked with two


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staffs. His hair was in long, thin, white locks; and, as he was uncommonly tall of stature, he must have had a venerable aspect. Perhaps he was the “man in a long white hat,” referred to by Deliverance Hobbs. The examination shows that his faculties were vigorous, his bearing fearless, and his utterances strong and decided. The magistrates began: “Here are them that accuse you of acts of witchcraft.” — “Well, let us hear who are they and what are they.” When Abigail Williams testified against him, going through undoubtedly her usual operations, he could not refrain from expressing his contempt for the whole thing by a laugh; explaining it by saying, “Because I am falsely accused — your worships all of you, do you think this is true?” They answered, “Nay: what do you think?” “I never did it.” — “Who did it?” — “Don't ask me.” The magistrates always took it for granted that the pretensions and sufferings of the girls were real, and threw upon the accused the responsibility of explaining them. They continued: “Why should we not ask you? Sarah Churchill accuseth you. There she is.” Jacobs was of opinion that it was not for him to explain the actions of the girls, but for the prosecuting party to prove his guilt. “If you can prove that I am guilty, I will lie under it.” Then Sarah Churchill, who was a servant in his family, said, “Last night, I was afflicted at Deacon Ingersoll's; and Mary Walcot said it was a man with two staves: it was my master.” It seems, that, after the proceedings against Burroughs were over, a meeting of “the circle” took place in the

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evening, at Deacon Ingersoll's, at which there was a repetition of the actings of the girls; and that Mary Walcot suggested to Churchill to accuse her master. This shows the way in which the delusion was kept up. Probably, such meetings were held at one house or another in the village, and fresh accusations brought forward, continually. Jacobs appealed to the magistrates, trying to recall them to a sense of fairness. “Pray, do not accuse me: I am as clear as your worships. You must do right judgment.” Sarah Churchill charged him with having hurt her; and the magistrates, pushing her on to make further charges, said to her, “Did he not appear on the other side of the river, and hurt you? Did not you see him?” She answered, “Yes, he did.” Then, turning to him, the magistrates said, “There, she accuseth you to your face: she chargeth you that you hurt her twice.” — “It is not true. What would you have me say? I never wronged no man in word nor deed.” — “Is it no harm to afflict these?” — “I never did it.” — “But how comes it to be in your appearance?” — “The Devil can take any likeness.” — “Not without their consent.” Jacobs rejected the imputation. “You tax me for a wizard: you may as well tax me for a buzzard. I have done no harm.” Churchill said, “I know you lived a wicked life.” Jacobs, turning to the magistrates, said, “Let her make it out.” The magistrates asked her, “Doth he ever pray in his family?” She replied, “Not unless by himself.” The magistrates, addressing him: “Why do you not pray in your family?” — “I cannot

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read.” — “Well, but you may pray for all that. Can you say the Lord's Prayer? Let us hear you.” The reporter, Mr. Parris, says, “He missed in several parts of it, and could not repeat it right after many trials.” The magistrates, addressing her, said, “Were you not frighted, Sarah Churchill, when the representation of your master came to you?” — “Yes.” Jacobs exclaimed, “Well, burn me or hang me, I will stand in the truth of Christ: I know nothing of it.” In answer to an inquiry from the magistrates, he denied having done any thing to get his son George or grand Margaret to “sign the book.”

The appearance of the old man, his intrepid bearing, and the stamp of conscious innocence on all he said, probably produced some impression on the magistrates, as they did not come to any decision, but adjourned the examination to the next day. The girls then came down from the village in full force, determined to put him through. When he was brought in, they accordingly, all at once, “fell into the most grievous fits and screechings.” When they sufficiently came to, the magistrates turned to the girls: “Is this the man that hurts you?” They severally answered, — Abigail Williams: “This is the man,” and fell into a violent fit. Ann Putnam: “This is the man. He hurts me, and brings the book to me, and would have me write in the book, and said, if I would write in it, I should be as well as his grand-daughter.” Mercy Lewis, after much interruptions by fits: “This is the man: he almost kills me.” Elizabeth Hubbard: “He


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never hurt me till to-day, when he came upon the table.” Mary Walcot, after much interruption by fits: “This is the man: he used to come with two staves, and beat me with one of them.” After all this, the magistrates, thinking he could deny it no longer, turn to him, “What do you say? Are you not a witch?” “No: I know it not, if I were to die presently.” Mercy Lewis advanced towards him, but, as soon as she got near, “fell into great fits.” — “What do you say to this?” cried the magistrates. “Why, it is false. I know not of it any more than the child that was born to-night.” The reporter says, “Ann Putnam and Abigail Williams had each of them a pin stuck in their hands, and they said it was this old Jacobs.” He was committed to prison.

The following piece of evidence is among the loose papers on file in the clerk's office: —

The Deposition of Sarah Ingersoll, aged about thirty years. — Saith, that, seeing Sarah Churchill after her examination, she came to me crying and wringing her hands, seemingly to be much troubled in spirit. I asked her what she ailed. She answered, she had undone herself. I asked her in what. She said, in belying herself and others in saying she had set her hand to the Devil's book, whereas, she said, she never did. I told her I believed she had set her hand to the book. She answered, crying, and said, `No, no, no: I never, I never did.' I asked her then what made her say she did. She answered, because they threatened her, and told her they would put her into the dungeon, and put her along with Mr. Burroughs; and thus


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several times she followed me up and down, telling me that she had undone herself, in belying herself and others. I asked her why she did not deny she wrote it. She told me, because she had stood out so long in it, that now she durst not. She said also, that, if she told Mr. Noyes but once she had set her hand to the book, he would believe her; but, if she told the truth, and said she had not set her hand to the book a hundred times, he would not believe her.

Sarah Ingersoll.

This paper has also the signature of “Ann Andrews.”

This incident probably occurred during the examination of George Jacobs; and the bitter compunction of Churchill was in consequence of the false and malignant course she had been pursuing against her old master. It is a relief to our feelings, so far as she is regarded, to suppose so. Bad as her conduct was as one of the accusers, on other occasions after I am sorry to say as well as before, it shows that she was not entirely dead to humanity, but realized the iniquity of which she had been guilty towards him. It is the only instance of which we find notice of any such a remnant of conscience showing itself, at the time, among those perverted and depraved young persons. The reason, why it is probable that this exhibition of Churchill's penitential tears and agonies of remorse occurred immediately after the first day of Jacobs's examination, is this. It was one of the first, if not the first, held at the house of Thomas Beadle. Sarah Ingersoll would not have been likely to have fallen in


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with her elsewhere. It is evident, from the tenor and purport of the document, that the deponent was not entirely carried away by the prevalent delusion, and probably did not follow up the proceedings generally. But it was quite natural that her attention should have been called to proceedings of interest at Beadle's house, particularly on that first occasion. She lived in the immediate vicinity. The indorsement by Ann Andrews, the daughter of Jacobs, increases the probability that the occurrence was at his examination.

The representatives of the family of John Ingersoll, — a brother of Deacon Nathaniel Ingersoll, — in 1692, occupied a series of houses on the west side of Daniels Street, leading from Essex Street to the harbor. The widow of John's son Nathaniel lived at the corner of Essex and Daniels Streets; the next in order was the widow of his son John; the next, his daughter Ruth, wife of Richard Rose; the next, the widow of his son Richard; the last, his son Samuel, whose house lot extended to the water. Sarah, the witness in this case, was the wife of Samuel, and afterwards became the second wife of Philip English. One of her children appears to have married a son of Beadle. Their immediate proximity to the Beadle house, and consequent intimacy with his family, led them to become conversant with what occurred there; and Sarah Ingersoll was, in that way, likely to meet Churchill, and to have the conversation with her to which she deposes.

This brief deposition of Sarah Ingersoll is, in many particulars, an important and instructive paper. It


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exhibits incidentally the means employed to keep the accusing girls and confessing witnesses from falling back, and, by overawing them, to prevent their acknowledging the falseness of their testimony. It shows how difficult it was to obtain a hearing, if they were disposed to recant. It presents Mr. Noyes — as all along there is too much evidence compelling us to admit — acting a part as bad as that of Parris; and it discloses the fact, that Mr. Burroughs, although not yet brought to trial, was immured in a dungeon.

No papers are on file, or have been obtained, in reference to the examination of Margaret Jacobs, which was at the same time and place with that of her grandfather. We shall hear of her in subsequent stages of the transaction.

On the same day — May 10 — that George and Margaret Jacobs were apprehended and examined, a warrant was issued against John Willard, “husbandman,” to be brought to Thomas Beadle's house in Salem. On the 12th, John Putnam, Jr., constable, made return that he had been to “the house of the usual abode of John Willard, and made search for him, and in several other houses and places, but could not find him;” and that “his relations and friends” said, “that, to their best knowledge, he was fled.” On the 15th, a warrant was issued to the marshal of Essex, and the constables of Salem, “or any other marshal, or marshal's constable or constables within this their majesty's colony or territory of the Massachusetts, in New England,” requiring them to apprehend said Willard, “if he may be found


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in your precincts, who stands charged with sundry acts of witchcraft, by him done or committed on the bodies of Bray Wilkins, and Samuel Wilkins, the son of Henry Wilkins,” and others, upon complaint made “by Thomas Fuller, Jr., and Benjamin Wilkins, Sr., yeomen; who, being found, you are to convey from town to town, from constable to constable,... to be prosecuted according to the direction of Constable John Putnam, of Salem Village, who goes with the same.” On the 18th of May, Constable Putnam brought in Willard, and delivered him to the magistrates. He was seized in Groton. There is no record of his examination; but we gather, from the papers on file, the following facts relating to this interesting case: —

It is said that Willard had been called upon to aid in the arrest, custody, and bringing-in of persons accused, acting as a deputy-constable; and, from his observation of the deportment of the prisoners, and from all he heard and saw, his sympathies became excited in their behalf: and he expressed, in more or less unguarded terms, his disapprobation of the proceedings. He seems to have considered all hands concerned in the business — accusers, accused, magistrates, and people — as alike bewitched. One of the witnesses against him deposed, that he said, in a “discourse” at the house of a relative, “Hang them: they are all witches.” In consequence of this kind of talk, in which he indulged as early as April, he incurred the ill-will of the parties engaged in the prose


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cutions; and it was whispered about that he was himself in the diabolical confederacy. He was a grandson of Bray Wilkins; and the mind of the old man became prejudiced against him, and most of his family connections and neighbors partook of the feeling. When Willard discovered that such rumors were in circulation against him, he went to his grandfather for counsel and the aid of his prayers. He met with a cold reception, as appears by the deposition of the old man as follows: —

“When John Willard was first complained of by the afflicted persons for afflicting of them, he came to my house, greatly troubled, desiring me, with some other neighbors, to pray for him. I told him I was then going from home, and could not stay; but, if I could come home before night, I should not be unwilling. But it was near night before I came home, and so I did not answer his desire; but I heard no more of him upon that account. Whether my not answering his desire did not offend him, I cannot tell; but I was jealous, afterwards, that it did.”

Willard soon after made an engagement to go to Boston, on election-week, with Henry Wilkins, Jr. A son of said Henry Wilkins, named Daniel, — a youth of seventeen years of age, who had heard the stories against Willard, and believed them all, remonstrated with his father against going to Boston with Willard, and seemed much distressed at the thought, saying, among other things, “It were well if the said Willard were hanged.”

Old Bray Wilkins must go to election too; and so


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started off on horseback, — the only mode of travel then practicable from Will's Hill to Winnesimit Ferry, —with his wife on a pillion behind him. He was eightytwo years of age, and she probably not much less; for she had been the wife of his youth. The old couple undoubtedly had an active time that week in Boston. It was a great occasion, and the whole country flocked in to partake in the ceremonies and services of the anniversary. On Election-day, with his wife, he rode out to Dorchester, to dine at the house of his “brother, Lieutenant Richard Way.” Deodat Lawson and his new wife, and several more, joined them at table. Before sitting down, Henry Wilkins and John Willard also came in. Willard, perhaps, did not feel very agreeably towards his grandfather, at the time, for having shown an unwillingness to pray with him. The old man either saw, or imagined he saw, a very unpleasant expression in Willard's countenance. “To my apprehension, he looked after such a sort upon me as I never before discerned in any.” The long and hard travel, the fatigues and excitements of election, were too much for the old man, tough and rugged as he was; and a severe attack of a complaint, to which persons of his age are often subject, came on. He experienced great sufferings, and, as he expressed it, “was like a man on a rack.”

“I told my wife immediately that I was afraid that Willard had done me wrong; my pain continuing, and finding no relief, my jealousy continued. Mr. Lawson and others there were all amazed, and knew not what to do for me. There was


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a woman accounted skilful came hoping to help me, and after she had used means, she asked me whether none of those evil persons had done me damage. I said, I could not say they had, but I was sore afraid they had. She answered, she did fear so too.... As near as I remember. I lay in this case three or four days at Boston, and afterward, with the jeopardy of my life (as I thought), I came home.”

On his return, he found his grandson, the same Daniel who had warned Henry Wilkins against going to Boston with John Willard, on his death - bed, in great suffering. Another attack of his own malady came on. There was great consternation in the neighborhood, and throughout the village. The Devil and his confederates, it was thought, were making an awful onslaught upon the people at Will's Hill. Parris and others rushed to the scene. Mercy Lewis and Mary Walcot were carried up to tell who it was that was bewitching old Bray, and young Daniel, and others of the Wilkinses who had caught the contagion, and were experiencing or imagining all sorts of bodily ails. They were taken to the room where Daniel was approaching his death-agonies; and they both affirmed, that they saw the spectres of old Mrs. Buckley and John Willard “upon his throat and upon his breast, and pressed him and choked him;” and the cruel operation, they insisted upon it, continued until the boy died. The girls were carried to the bedroom of the old man, who was in great suffering; and, when they entered, the question was put by the anxious and excited friends in the chamber to Mercy Lewis, whether


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she saw any thing. She said, “Yes: they are looking for John Willard.” Presently she pretended to have caught sight of his apparition, and exclaimed, “There he is upon his grandfather's belly.” This was thought wonderful indeed; for, as the old man says in a deposition he drew up afterwards, “At that time I was in grievous pain in the small of my belly.”

Mrs. Ann Putnam had her story to tell about John Willard. Its substance is seen in a deposition drawn up about the time, and is in the same vein as her testimony in other cases; presenting a problem to be solved by those who can draw the line between semi-insane hallucination and downright fabrication. Her deposition is as follows: —

“That the shape of Samuel Fuller and Lydia Wilkins this day told me at my own house by the bedside, who appeared in winding-sheets, that, if I did not go and tell Mr. Hathorne that John Willard had murdered them, they would tear me to pieces. I knew them when they were living, and it was exactly their resemblance and shape. And, at the same time, the apparition of John Willard told me that he had killed Samuel Fuller, Lydia Wilkins, Goody Shaw, and Fuller's second wife, and Aaron Way's child, and Ben Fuller's child; and this deponent's child Sarah, six weeks old; and Philip Knight's child, with the help of William Hobbs; and Jonathan Knight's child and two of Ezekiel Cheever's children with the help of William Hobbs; Anne Eliot and Isaac Nichols with the help of William Hobbs; and that if Mr. Hathorne would not believe them, — that is, Samuel Fuller and Lydia Wilkins, — perhaps they would appear to


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the magistrates. Joseph Fuller's apparition the same day also came to me, and told me that Goody Corey had killed him. The spectre aforesaid told me, that vengeance, vengeance, was cried by said Fuller. This relation is true.

Ann Putnam.

It appears by such papers as are to be found relating to Willard's case, that a coroner's jury was held over the body of Daniel Wilkins, of which Nathaniel Putnam was foreman. It is much to be regretted that the finding of that jury is lost. It would be a real curiosity. That it was very decisive to the point, affirmed by Mercy Lewis and Mary Walcot, that Daniel was choked and strangled by the spectres of John Willard and Goody Buckley, is apparent from the manner in which Bray Wilkins speaks of it. In an argument between him and some persons who were expressing their confidence that John Willard was an innocent man, he sought to relieve himself from responsibility for Willard's conviction by saying, “It was not I, nor my son Benjamin Wilkins, but the testimony of the afflicted persons, and the jury concerning the murder of my grandson, Daniel Wilkins, that would take away his life, if any thing did.” Mr. Parris, of course, was in the midst of these proceedings at Will's Hill; attended the visits of the afflicted girls when they went to ascertain who were the witches murdering young Daniel and torturing the old man; was present, no doubt, at the solemn examinations and investigations of the sages who sat as a jury of inquest


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over the former, and, in all likelihood, made, as usual, a written report of the same. As soon as he got back to his house, he discharged his mind, and indorsed the verdict of the coroner's jury by this characteristic insertion in his church-records: “Dan: Wilkins. Bewitched to death.” The very next entry relates to a case of which this obituary line, in Mr. Parris's church-book, is the only intimation that has come down to us, “Daughter to Ann Douglas. By witchcraft, I doubt not.” Willard's examination was at Beadle's, on the 18th. With this deluge of accusations and tempest of indignation beating upon him, he had but little chance, and was committed.

While the marshals and constables were in pursuit of Willard, the time was well improved by the prosecutors. On the 12th of May, warrants were issued to apprehend, and bring “forthwith” before the magistrates sitting at Beadle's, “Alice Parker, the wife of John Parker of Salem; and Ann Pudeator of Salem, widow.” Alice, commonly called Elsie, Parker was the wife of a mariner. We know but little of her. We have a deposition of one woman, Martha Dutch, as follows: —

“This deponent testified and saith, that, about two years last past, John Jarman, of Salem, coming in from sea, I (this deponent and Alice Parker, of Salem, both of us standing together) said unto her, `What a great mercy it was, for to see them come home well; and through mercy,' I said, `my husband had gone, and come home well, many times.' And I, this deponent, did say unto the said Parker, that `I


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did hope he would come home this voyage well also.' And the said Parker made answer unto me, and said, `No: never more in this world.' The which came to pass as she then told me; for he died abroad, as I certainly hear.”

Perhaps Parker had information which had not reached the ears of Dutch, or she may have been prone to take melancholy views of the dangers to which seafaring people are exposed. It was a strange kind of evidence to be admitted against a person in a trial for witchcraft.

Samuel Shattuck, who has been mentioned (vol. i. p. 193) in connection with Bridget Bishop, had a long story to tell about Alice Parker. He seems to have been very active in getting up charges of witchcraft against persons in his neighborhood, and on the most absurd and frivolous grounds. Parker had made a friendly call upon his wife; and, not long after, one of his children fell sick, and he undertook to suspect that it was “under an evil hand.” In similar circumstances, he took the same grudge against Bridget Bishop. Alice Parker, hearing that he had been circulating suspicions to that effect against her, went to his house to remonstrate; an angry altercation took place between them; and he gave his version of the affair in evidence. There was no one to present the other side. But the whole thing has, not only a one-sided, but an irrelevant character, in no wise bearing upon the point of witchcraft. All the gossip, scandal, and tittle-tattle of the neighborhood for twenty years back, in this case as in others, was


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raked up, and allowed to be adduced, however utterly remote from the questions belonging to the trial.

The following singular piece of testimony against Alice Parker may be mentioned. John Westgate was at Samuel Beadle's tavern one night with boon companions; among them John Parker, the husband of Alice. She disapproved of her husband's spending his evenings in such company, and in a bar-room; and felt it necessary to put a stop to it, if she could. Westgate says that she “came into the company, and scolded at and called her husband all to nought; whereupon I, the said deponent, took her husband's part, telling her it was an unbeseeming thing for her to come after him to the tavern, and rail after that rate. With that she came up to me, and called me rogue, and bid me mind my own business, and told me I had better have said nothing.” He goes on to state, that, returning home one night some time afterwards, he experienced an awful fright. “Going from the house of Mr. Daniel King, when I came over against John Robinson's house, I heard a great noise;... and there appeared a black hog running towards me with open mouth, as though he would have devoured me at that instant time.” In the extremity of his terror, he tried to run away from the awful monster; but, as might have been expected under the circumstances, he tumbled to the ground. “I fell down upon my hip, and my knife run into my hip up to the haft. When I came home, my knife was in my sheath. When I drew it out of the sheath, then immediately the sheath fell all


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to pieces.” And further this deponent testifieth, that, after he got up from his fall, his stocking and shoe was full of blood, and that he was forced to crawl along by the fence all the way home; and the hog followed him, and never left him till he came home. He further stated that he was accompanied all the way by his “stout dog,” which ordinarily was much inclined to attack and “worry hogs,” but, on this occasion, “ran away from him, leaping over the fence and crying much.” In view of all these things, Westgate concludes his testimony thus: “Which hog I then apprehended was either the Devil or some evil thing, not a real hog; and did then really judge, or determine in my mind, that it was either Goody Parker or by her means and procuring, fearing that she is a witch.” The facts were probably these: The sheath was broken by his fall, his skin bruised, and some blood got into his stocking and shoe. The knife was never out of the sheath until he drew it; there was no mystery or witchcraft in it. Nothing was ever more natural than the conduct of the dog. When he saw Westgate frightened out of his wits at nothing, trying to run as for dear life when there was no pursuer, staggering and pitching along in a zigzag direction with very eccentric motions, falling heels over head, and then crawling along, holding himself up by the fence, and all the time looking back with terror, and perhaps attempting to express his consternation, the dog could not tell what to make of it; and ran off, as a dog would be likely to have done, jumping over the fences, barking,

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and uttering the usual canine ejaculations. Dogs sympathize with their masters, and, if there is a frolic or other acting going on, are fond of joining in it. The whole thing was in consequence of Westgate's not having profited by Alice Parker's rebuke, and discontinued his visits by night to Beadle's bar-room. The only reason why he saw the “black hog with the open mouth,” and the dog did not see it, and therefore failed to come to his protection, was because he had been drinking and the dog had not.

We find among the papers relating to these transactions many other instances of this kind of testimony; sounds heard and sights seen by persons going home at night through woods, after having spent the evening under the bewildering influences of talk about witches, Satan, ghosts, and spectres; sometimes, as in this case, stimulated by other causes of excitement.

Perhaps some persons may be curious to know the route by which Westgate made out to reach his home, while pursued by the horrors of that midnight experience. He seems to have frequented Samuel Beadle's bar-room. That old Narragansett soldier owned a lot on the west side of St. Peter's Street, occupying the southern corner of what is now Church Street, which was opened ten years afterwards, that is, in 1702, by the name of Epps's Lane. On that lot his tavern stood. He also owned one-third of an acre at the present corner of Brown and St. Peter's Streets, on which he had a stable and barn; so that his grounds were on both sides of St. Peter's Street, — one parcel on the west,


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nearly opposite the present front of the church; the other on the east side of St. Peter's Street, opposite the south side of the church. From this locality Westgate started. He probably did not go down Brown Street, for that was then a dark, unfrequented lane, but thought it safest to get into Essex Street. He made his way along that street, passing the Common, the southern side of which, at that time, with the exception of some house-lots on and contiguous to the site of the Franklin Building, bordered on Essex Street. The casualty of his fall; the catastrophe to his hip, stocking, and shoe; and the witchery practised upon his knife and its sheath, — occurred “over against John Robinson's house,” which was on the eastern corner of Pleasant and Essex Streets. Christopher Babbage's house, from which he thought the “great noise” came, was next beyond Robinson's. He crawled along the fences and the sides of the houses until he reached the passage-way on the western side of Thomas Beadle's house, and through that managed to get to his own house, which was directly south of said Beadle lot, between it and the harbor.

There is one item in reference to Alice Parker, which indicates that the zeal of the prosecutors in her case, as in that of Mr. Burroughs, and perhaps others, was aggravated by a suspicion that she was heretical on some points of the prevalent creed of the day. Parris says that “Mr. Noyes, at the time of her examination, affirmed to her face, that, he being with her at a time of sickness, discoursing with her about


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witchcraft, whether she were not guilty, she answered, `if she was as free from other sins as from witchcraft, she would not ask of the Lord mercy.”' The manner of expression in this passage shows that it was thought that there was something very shocking in her answer. Mr. Noyes “affirmed to her face.” No doubt it was thought that she denied the doctrine of original and transmitted, or imputed sin.

Ann Pudeator (pronounced Pud-e-tor) was the widow of Jacob Pudeator, and probably about seventy years of age. The name is spelt variously, and was originally, as it is sometimes found, Poindexter. She was a woman of property, owning two estates on the north line of the Common; that on which she lived comprised what is between Oliver and Winter Streets. She was arrested and brought to examination on the 12th of May. There is ground to conclude, from the tenor of the documents, that she was then discharged. Some people in the town were determined to gratify their spleen against her, and procured her re-arrest. The examination took place on the 2d of July, and she was then committed. The evidence was, if possible, more frivolous and absurd than in other cases. The girls acted their usual parts, giving, on this occasion, a particularly striking exhibition of the transmission of the diabolical virus out of themselves back into the witch by a touch of her body. “Ann Putnam fell into a fit, and said Pudeator was commanded to take her by the wrist, and did; and said Putnam was well presently. Mary Warren fell into two fits quickly, after


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one another; and both times was helped by said Pudeator's taking her by the wrist.”

When well acted, this must have been one of the most impressive and effective of all the methods employed in these performances. To see a young woman or girl suddenly struck down, speechless, pallid as in death; with muscles rigid, eyeballs fixed or rolled back in their sockets; the stiffened frame either wholly prostrate or drawn up into contorted attitudes and shapes, or vehemently convulsed with racking pains, or dropping with relaxed muscles into a lifeless lump; and to hear dread shrieks of delirious ravings, — must have produced a truly frightful effect upon an excited and deluded assembly. The constables and their assistants would go to the rescue, lift the body of the sufferer, and bear it in their arms towards the prisoner. The magistrates and the crowd, hushed in the deepest silence, would watch with breathless awe the result of the experiment, while the officers slowly approached the accused, who, when they came near, would, in obedience to the order of the magistrates, hold out a hand, and touch the flesh of the afflicted one. Instantly the spasms cease, the eyes open, color returns to the countenance, the limbs resume their position and functions, and life and intelligence are wholly restored. The sufferer comes to herself, walks back, and takes her seat as well as ever. The effect upon the accused person must have been confounding. It is a wonder that it did not oftener break them down. It sometimes did. Poor Deliverance Hobbs, when the


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process was tried upon her, was wholly overcome, and passed from conscious and calmly asserted innocence to a helpless abandonment of reason, conscience, and herself, exclaiming, “I am amazed! I am amazed!” and assented afterwards to every charge brought against her, and said whatever she was told, or supposed they wished her to say.

On the 14th of May, warrants were issued against Daniel Andrew; George Jacobs, Jr.; his wife, Rebecca Jacobs; Sarah Buckley, wife of William Buckley; and Mary Whittredge, daughter of said Buckley, — all of Salem Village; Elizabeth Hart, wife of Isaac Hart, of Lynn; Thomas Farrar, Sr., also of Lynn; Elizabeth Colson, of Reading; and Bethiah Carter, of Woburn. There is nothing of special interest among the few papers that are on file relating to Hart, Colson, or Carter. The constable made return that he had searched the houses of Daniel Andrew and George Jacobs, Jr., but could not find them. He brought in forthwith the bodies of Sarah Buckley, Mary Whittredge, and Rebecca Jacobs. Farrar and the rest were brought in shortly afterwards.

Daniel Andrew was one of the leading men of the village, and the warrant against him was proof that soon none would be too high to be reached by the prosecutors. He felt that it was in vain to attempt to resist their destructive power; and, getting notice in some way of the approach of the constable, with his near neighbor, friend, and connection, George Jacobs,


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Jr., effected his escape, and found refuge in a foreign country.

Rebecca, the wife of George Jacobs, Jr., was the victim of a partial derangement. Her daughter Margaret was already in jail. Her husband had escaped by a hurried flight, and his father was in prison awaiting his trial. She was left in a lonely and unprotected condition, in a country but thinly settled, in the midst of woods. The constable came with his warrant for her. She was driven to desperation, and was inclined to resist; but he persuaded her to go with him by holding out the inducement that she would soon be permitted to return. Four young children, one of them an infant, were left in the house; but those who were old enough to walk followed after, crying, endeavoring to overtake her. Some of the neighbors took them into their houses. The imprisonment of a woman in her situation and mental condition was an outrage; but she was kept in irons, as they all were, for eight months. Her mother addressed an humble but earnest and touching petition to the chief-justice of the court at Salem, setting forth her daughter's condition; but it was of no avail. Afterwards, she addressed a similar memorial to “His Excellency Sir William Phips, Knight, Governor, and the Honorable Council sitting at Boston,” in the following terms: —

The Humble Petition of Rebecca Fox, of Cambridge, showeth, that, whereas Rebecca Jacobs (daughter of your humble petitioner) has, a long time, — even many months, — now lain in prison for witchcraft, and is well known to be a


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person crazed, distracted, and broken in mind, your humble petitioner does most humbly and earnestly seek unto Your Excellency and to Your Honors for relief in this case.

“Your petitioner, — who knows well the condition of her poor daughter, — together with several others of good repute and credit, are ready to offer their oaths, that the said Jacobs is a woman crazed, distracted, and broken in her mind; and that she has been so these twelve years and upwards.

“However, for (I think) above this half-year, the said Jacobs has lain in prison, and yet remains there, attended with many sore difficulties.

“Christianity and nature do each of them oblige your petitioner to be very solicitous in this matter; and, although many weighty cases do exercise your thoughts, yet your petitioner can have no rest in her mind till such time as she has offered this her address on behalf of her daughter.

“Some have died already in prison, and others have been dangerously sick; and how soon others, and, among them, my poor child, by the difficulties of this confinement may be sick and die, God only knows.

“She is uncapable of making that shift for herself that others can do; and such are her circumstances, on other accounts, that your petitioner, who is her tender mother, has many great sorrows, and almost overcoming burdens, on her mind upon her account; but, in the midst of all her perplexities and troubles (next to supplicating to a good and merciful God), your petitioner has no way for help but to make this her afflicted condition known unto you. So, not doubting but Your Excellency and Your Honors will readily hear the cries and groans of a poor distressed woman, and grant what


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help and enlargement you may, your petitioner heartily begs God's gracious presence with you; and subscribes herself, in all humble manner, you sorrowful and distressed petitioner, Rebecca Fox.

No heed was paid to this petition; and the unfortunate woman remained in jail until — after the delusion had passed from the minds of the people — a grand jury found a bill against her, on which she was brought to trial, Jan. 3, 1693, and acquitted. There is no more disgraceful feature in all the proceedings than the long imprisonment of this woman, her being brought to trial, and the obdurate deafness to humanity and reason of the chief-justice, the governor, and the council.

No papers are found relating to the examination of Thomas Farrar; but the following deposition shows the manner in which prosecutions were got up: —

The Deposition of Ann Putnam, who testifieth and saith, that, on the 8th of May, 1692, there appeared to me the apparition of an old, gray-headed man, with a great nose, which tortured me, and almost choked me, and urged me to write in his book; and I asked him what was his name, and from whence he came, for I would complain of him; and he told me he came from Lynn, and people do call him `old Father Pharaoh;' and he said he was my grandfather, for my father used to call him father: but I told him I would not call him grandfather; for he was a wizard, and I would complain of him. And, ever since, he hath afflicted me by times, beating me and pinching me and almost choking me, and urging me continually to write in his book.”


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“We, whose names are underwritten, having been conversant with Ann Putnam, have heard her declare what is above written, — what she said she saw and heard from the apparition of old Pharaoh, — and also have seen her tortures, and perceived her hellish temptations, by her loud outcries, `I will not write, old Pharaoh, — I will not write in your book.' Thomas Putnam,

Robert Morrell.

She had heard this person spoken of as “old Father Pharaoh,” with his “great nose;” and, from a mere spirit of mischief, — for the fun of the thing, — cried out upon him. Many of the documents exhibit a levity of spirit among these girls, which show how hardened and reckless they had become. The following depositions are illustrative of this state of mind among them: —

The. Deposition of Clement Coldum, aged sixty years, or thereabout. — Saith that, on the 29th of May, 1692, being at Salem Village, carrying home Elizabeth Hubbard from the meeting behind me, she desired me to ride faster. I asked her why. She said the woods were full of devils, and said, `There!' and `There they be!' but I could see none. Then I put on my horse; and, after I had ridden a while, she told me I might ride softer, for we had outridden them. I asked her if she was not afraid of the Devil. She answered me, `No: she could discourse with the Devil as well as with me,' and further saith not. This I am ready to testify on oath, if called thereto, as witness my hand.

Clement Coldum.

The Testimony of Daniel Elliot, aged twenty-seven years or thereabouts, who testifieth and saith, that I, being


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at the house of Lieutenant Ingersoll, on the 28th of March, in the year 1692, there being present one of the afflicted persons, who cried out and said, `There's Goody Procter.' William Raymond, Jr., being there present, told the girl he believed she lied, for he saw nothing. Then Goody Ingersoll told the girl she told a lie, for there was nothing. Then the girl said she did it for sport, — they must have some sport.”

Sarah Buckley was examined May 18, and her daughter Mary Whittredge probably on the same day. We have Parris's report of the proceedings in reference to the former. The only witnesses against her were the afflicted children. They performed their grand operation of going into fits, and being carried to the accused and subjected to her touch; Ann Putnam, Susanna Sheldon, and Mary Warren enacting the part in succession. Sheldon cried out, “There is the black man whispering in her ear!” The magistrates and all beholders were convinced. She was committed to prison, and remained in irons for eight months before a trial, which resulted in her acquittal. So eminently excellent was the character of Goodwife Buckley, that her arrest and imprisonment led to expressions in her favor as honorable to those who had the courage to utter them as to her. The following certificates were given, previous to her trial, by ministers in the neighborhood: —

“These are to certify whom it may or shall concern, that I have known Sarah, the wife of William Buckley, of Salem Village, more or less, ever since she was brought out of


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England, which is above fifty years ago; and, during all that time, I never knew nor heard of any evil in her carriage, or conversation unbecoming a Christian: likewise, she was bred up by Christian parents all the time she lived here at Ipswich. I further testify, that the said Sarah was admitted as a member into the church of Ipswich above forty years since; and that I never heard from others, or observed by myself, any thing of her that was inconsistent with her profession or unsuitable to Christianity, either in word, deed, or conversation, and am strangely surprised that any person should speak or think of her as one worthy to be suspected of any such crime that she is now charged with. In testimony hereof I have here set my hand this 20th of June, 1692. William Hubbard.

“Being desired by Goodman Buckley to give my testimony to his wife's conversation before this great calamity befell her, I cannot refuse to bear witness to the truth; viz., that, during the time of her living in Salem for many years in communion with this church, having occasionally frequent converse and discourse with her, I have never observed myself, nor heard from any other, any thing that was unsuitable to a conversation becoming the gospel, and have always looked upon her as a serious, Godly woman.

John Higginson.

“Marblehead, Jan. 2, 169⅔. — Upon the same request, having had the like opportunity by her residence many years at Marblehead, I can do no less than give the alike testimony for her pious conversation during her abode in this place and communion with us. Samuel Cheever.

William Hubbard was the venerable minister of Ipswich, described by Hutchinson as “a man of learning,


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and of a candid and benevolent mind, accompanied with a good degree of catholicism.” He is described by another writer as “a man of singular modesty, learned without ostentation.” He will be remembered with honor for his long and devoted service in the Christian ministry, and as the historian of New England and of the Indian wars.

John Higginson was worthy of the title of the “Nestor of the New-England clergy.” He was at this time seventy-six years old, and had been a preacher of the gospel fifty-five years. For thirty-three years he had been pastor of the First Church in Salem, of which his father was the first preacher. No character, in all our annals, shines with a purer lustre. John Dunton visited him in 1686, and thus speaks of him: “All men look to him as a common father; and old age, for his sake, is a reverend thing. He is eminent for all the graces that adorn a minister. His very presence puts vice out of countenance; his conversation is a glimpse of heaven.” The fact, that, while his colleague, Nicholas Noyes, took so active and disastrous a part in the prosecutions, he, at an early stage, discountenanced them, shows that he was a person of discrimination and integrity. That he did not conceal his disapprobation of the proceedings is demonstrated, not only by the tenor of his attestation in behalf of Goodwife Buckley, but by the decisive circumstance that the “afflicted children” cried out against his daughter Anna, the wife of Captain William Dolliver, of Gloucester; got a warrant to apprehend her; and


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had her brought to the Salem jail, and committed as a witch. They never struck at friends, but were sure to punish all who were suspected to disapprove of the proceedings. How long Mrs. Dolliver remained in prison we are not informed. But it was impossible to break down the influence or independence of Mr. Higginson. It is not improbable that he believed in witchcraft, with all the other divines of his day; but he feared not to bear testimony to personal worth, and could not be brought to co-operate in violence, or fall in with the spirit of persecution. The weight of his character compelled the deference of the most heated zealots, and even Cotton Mather himself was eager to pay him homage. Four years afterwards, he thus writes of him: “This good old man is yet alive; and he that, from a child, knew the Holy Scriptures, does, at those years wherein men use to be twice children, continue preaching them with such a manly, pertinent, and judicious vigor, and with so little decay of his intellectual abilities, as is indeed a matter of just admiration.”

Samuel Cheever was a clergyman of the highest standing, and held in universal esteem through a long life.

From passages incidentally given, it has appeared that it was quite common, in those times, to attribute accidents, injuries, pains, and diseases of all kinds, to an “evil hand.” It was not confined to this locality. When, however, the public mind had become excited to so extraordinary a degree by circumstances connected


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with the prosecutions in 1692, this tendency of the popular credulity was very much strengthened. Believing that the sufferer or patient was the victim of the malignity of Satan, and it also being a doctrine of the established belief that he could not act upon human beings or affairs except through the instrumental agency of some other human beings in confederacy with him, the question naturally arose, in every specific instance, Who is the person in this diabolical league, and doing the will of the Devil in this case? Who is the witch? It may well be supposed, that the suffering person, and all surrounding friends, would be most earnest and anxious in pressing this question and seeking its solution. The accusing girls at the village were thought to possess the power to answer it. This gave them great importance, gratified their vanity and pride, and exalted them to the character of prophetesses. They were ready to meet the calls made upon them in this capacity; would be carried to the room of a sick person; and, on entering it, would exclaim, on the first return of pain, or difficulty of respiration, or restless motion of the patient, “There she is!” There is such a one's appearance, choking or otherwise tormenting him or her. If the minds of the accusing girls had been led towards a new victim, his or her name would be used, and a warrant issued for his apprehension. If not, then the name of some one already in confinement would be used on the occasion. It was also a received opinion, that, while ordinary fastenings would not prevent a

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witch from going abroad, “in her apparition,” to any distance to afflict persons, a redoubling of them might. Whenever one of the accusing girls pretended to see the spectres of persons already in jail afflicting any one, orders would forthwith be given to have them more heavily chained. Every once in a while, a wretched prisoner, already suffering from bonds and handcuffs, would be subjected to additional manacles and chains. This was one of the most cruel features in these proceedings. It is illustrated by the following document: —

The Deposition of Benjamin Hutchinson, who testifleth and saith, that my wife was much afflicted, presently after the last execution, with violent pains in her head and teeth, and all parts of her body; but, on sabbath day was fortnight in the morning, she being in such excessive misery that she said she believed that she had an evil hand upon her: whereupon I went to Mary Walcot, one of our next neighbors, to come and look to see if she could see anybody upon her; and, as soon as she came into the house, she said that our two next neighbors, Sarah Buckley and Mary Whittredge, were upon my wife. And immediately my wife had ease, and Mary Walcot was tormented. Whereupon I went down to the sheriff, and desired him to take some course with those women, that they might not have such power to torment: and presently he ordered them to be fettered, and, ever since that, my wife has been tolerable well; and I believe, in my heart, that Sarah Buckley and Mary Whittredge have hurt my wife and several others by acts of witchcraft.

“Benjamin Hutchinson owned the above-written evidence


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to be the truth, upon oath, before the grand inquest, 15-7, 1692.”

The evidence is quite conclusive, from considerations suggested by the foregoing document, and indications scattered through the papers generally, that all persons committed on the charge of witchcraft were kept heavily ironed, and otherwise strongly fastened. Only a few of the bills of expenses incurred are preserved. Among them we find the following: For mending and putting on Rachel Clenton's fetters; one pair of fetters for John Howard; a pair of fetters each for John Jackson, Sr., and John Jackson, Jr.; eighteen pounds of iron for fetters; for making four pair of iron fetters and two pair of handcuffs, and putting them on the legs and hands of Goodwife Cloyse, Easty, Bromidg, and Green; chains for Sarah Good and Sarah Osburn; shackles for ten prisoners; and one pair of irons for Mary Cox. When we reflect upon the character of the prisoners generally, — many of them delicate and infirm, several venerable for their virtues as well as years, — and that they were kept in this cruelly painful condition from early spring to the middle of the next January, and the larger part to the May of 1693, in the extremes of heat and cold, exposed to the most distressing severities of both, crowded in narrow, dark, and noisome jails under an accumulation of all their discomforts, restraints, privations, exposures, and abominations, our wonder is, not that many of them died, but that all did not break down in body and mind.


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Sarah Buckley and her daughter were not brought to trial until after the power of the prosecution to pursue to the death had ceased. They were acquitted in January, 1692. Their goods and chattels had all been seized by the officers, as was the usual practice, at the time of their arrest. In humble circumstances before, it took their last shilling to meet the charges of their imprisonment. They, as all others, were required to provide their own maintenance while in prison; and, after trial and acquittal, were not discharged until all costs were paid. Five pounds had to be raised, to satisfy the claims of the officers of the court and of the jails, for each of them. The result was, the family was utterly impoverished. The poor old woman, with her aged husband, suffered much, there is reason to fear, from absolute want during all the rest of their days. Their truly Christian virtues dignified their poverty, and secured the respect and esteem of all good men. The Rev. Joseph Green has this entry in his diary: “Jan. 2, 1702. — Old William Buckley died this evening. He was at meeting the last sabbath, and died with the cold, I fear, for want of comforts and good tending. Lord forgive! He was about eighty years old. I visited him and prayed with him on Monday, and also the evening before he died. He was very poor; but, I hope, had not his portion in this life.” The ejaculation, “Lord forgive!” expresses the deep sense Mr. Green had, of which his whole ministry gave evidence, of the inexpressible sufferings and wrongs brought upon families


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by the witchcraft prosecutions. The case of Sarah Buckley, her husband and family, was but one of many. The humble, harmless, innocent people who experienced that fearful and pitiless persecution had to drink of as bitter a cup as ever was permitted by an inscrutable Providence to be presented to human lips. In reference to them, we feel as an assurance, what good Mr. Green humbly hoped, that “they had not their portion in this life.” Those who went firmly, patiently, and calmly through that great trial without losing love or faith, are crowned with glory and honor.

The examination and commitment of Mary Easty, on the 21st of April, have already been described. For some reason, and in a way of which we have no information, she was diseharged from prison on the 18th of May, and wholly released. This seems to have been very distasteful to the accusing girls. They were determined not to let it rest so; and put into operation their utmost energies to get her back to imprisonment. On the 20th of May, Mercy Lewis, being then at the house of John Putnam, Jr., was taken with fits, and experienced tortures of unprecedented severity. The particular circumstances on this occasion, as gathered from various depositions, illustrate very strikingly the skilful manner in which the girls managed to produce the desired effect upon the public mind.

Samuel Abbey, a neighbor, whether sent for or not we are not informed, went to John Putnam's house that morning, about nine o'clock. He found Mercy in


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a terrible condition, crying out with piteous tones of anguish, “Dear Lord, receive my soul.” — “Lord, let them not kill me quite.” — “Pray for the salvation of my soul, for they will kill me outright.” He was desired to go to Thomas Putnam's house to bring his daughter Ann, “to see if she could see who it was that hurt Mercy Lewis.” He found Abigail Williams with Ann, and they accompanied him back to John Putnam. On the way, they both cried out that they saw the apparition of Goody Easty afflicting Mercy Lewis. When they reached the scene, they exclaimed, “There is Goody Easty and John Willard and Mary Whittredge afflicting the body of Mercy Lewis;” Mercy at the time laboring for breath, and appearing as choked and strangled, convulsed, and apparently at the last gasp. “Thus,” says Abbey, “she continued the greatest part of the day, in such tortures as no tongue can express.” Mary Walcot was sent for. Upon coming in, she cried out, “There is the apparition of Goody Easty choking Mercy Lewis, pressing upon her breasts with both her hands, and putting a chain about her neck.” A message was then despatched for Elizabeth Hubbard. She, too, saw the shape of Goody Easty, “the very same woman that was sent home the other day,” aided in her diabolical operations by Willard and Whittredge, “torturing Mercy in a most dreadful manner.” Intelligence of the shocking sufferings of Mercy was circulated far and wide, and people hurried to the spot from all directions. Jonathan Putnam, James Darling, Benjamin

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Hutchinson, and Samuel Braybrook reached the house during the evening, and found Mercy “in a case as if death would have quickly followed.” Occasionally, Mercy would have a respite; and, at such intervals, Elizabeth Hubbard would fill the gap. “These two fell into fits by turns; the one being well while the other was ill.” Each of them continued, all the while, crying out against Goody Easty, uttering in their trances vehement remonstrances against her cruel operations, representing her as bringing their winding-sheets and coffins, and threatening to kill them “if they would not sign to her book.” Their acting was so complete that the bystanders seem to have thought that they heard the words of Easty, as well as the responses of the girls; and that they saw the “winding-sheet, coffin,” and “the book.” In the general consternation, Marshal Herrick was sent for. What he saw, heard, thought, and did, appears from the following: —

“May 20, 1692. — The Testimony of George Herrick, aged thirty-four or thereabouts, and John Putnam, Jr., of Salem Village, aged thirty-five years or thereabouts. — Testifieth and saith, that, being at the house of the above-said John Putnam, both saw Mercy Lewis in a very dreadful and solemn condition, so that to our apprehension she could not continue long in this world without a mitigation of those torments we saw her in, which caused us to expedite a hasty despatch to apprehend Mary Easty, in hopes, if possible, it might save her life; and, returning the same night to said John Putnam's house about midnight,


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we found the said Mercy Lewis in a dreadful fit, but her reason was then returned. Again she said, `What! have you brought me the winding-sheet, Goodwife Easty? Well, I had rather go into the winding-sheet than set my hand to the book;' but, after that, her fits were weaker and weaker, but still complaining that she was very sick of her stomach. About break of day, she fell asleep, but still continues extremely sick, and was taken with a dreadful fit just as we left her; so that we perceived life in her, and that was all.”

Edward Putnam, after stating that the grievous afflictions and tortures of Mercy Lewis were charged, by her and the other four girls, upon Mary Easty, deposes as follows: —

“I myself, being there present with several others, looked for nothing else but present death for almost the space of two days and a night. She was choked almost to death, insomuch we thought sometimes she had been dead; her mouth and teeth shut; and all this very often until such time as we understood Mary Easty was laid in irons.”

Mercy's fits did not cease immediately upon Easty's being apprehended, but on her being committed to prison and chains by the magistrate in Salem.

An examination of distances, with the map before us, will show the rapidity with which business was despatched on this occasion. Abbey went to John Putnam, Jr.'s house at nine o'clock in the morning of May 20. He was sent to Thomas Putnam's house for Ann, and brought her and Abigail Williams back with him. Mary Walcot was sent for to the house of her father, Captain Jonathan Walcot, and went up at one


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o'clock, “about an hour by sun.” Then Elizabeth Hubbard, who lived at the house of Dr. Griggs, “was carried up to Constable John Putnam's house:” Jonathan Putnam, James Darling, Benjamin Hutchinson, and Samuel Braybrook got there in the evening, as they say, “between eight and eleven o'clock.” In the mean time, Marshal Herrick had arrived. Steps were taken to get out a warrant. John Putnam and Benjamin Hutchinson went to Salem to Hathorne for the purpose. They must have started soon after eight. Hathorne issued the warrant forthwith. It is dated May 20. Herrick went with it to the house of Isaac Easty, made the arrest, sent his prisoner to the jail in Salem, and returned himself to John Putnam's house “about midnight;” staid to witness the apparently mortal sufferings of Mercy until “about break of day;” returned to Salem; had the examination before Hathorne, at Thomas Beadle's: the whole thing was finished, Mary Easty in irons, information of the result carried to John Putnam's, and Mercy's agonies ceased that afternoon, as Edward Putnam testifies.

I have given this particular account of the circumstances that led to and attended Mary Easty's second arrest, because the papers belonging to the case afford, in some respects, a better insight of the state of things than others, and because they enable us to realize the power which the accusing girls exercised. The continuance of their convulsions and spasms for such a length of time, the large number of persons who witnessed and watched them in the broad daylight, and


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the perfect success of their operations, show how thoroughly they had become trained in their arts. I have presented the occurrences in the order of time, so that, by estimating the distances traversed and the period within which they took place, an idea can be formed of the vehement earnestness with which men acted in the “hurrying distractions of amazing afflictions” and overwhelming terrors. This instance also gives us a view of the horrible state of things, when any one, however respectable and worthy, was liable, at any moment, to be seized, maligned, and destroyed.

Mary Easty had previously experienced the malice of the persecutors. For two months she had suffered the miseries of imprisonment, had just been released, and for two days enjoyed the restoration of liberty, the comforts of her home, and a re-union with her family. She and they, no doubt, considered themselves safe from any further outrage. After midnight, she was roused from sleep by the unfeeling marshal, torn from her husband and children, carried back to prison, loaded with chains, and finally consigned to a dreadful and most cruel death. She was an excellent and pious matron. Her husband, referring to the transaction nearly twenty years afterwards, justly expressed what all must feel, that it was “a hellish molestation.”

One of the most malignant witnesses against Mary Easty was “Goodwife Bibber.” She obtruded herself in many of the cases, acting as a sort of outside member of the “accusing circle,” volunteering her aid in


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carrying on the persecutions. It was an outrage for the magistrates or judges to have countenanced such a false defamer. There are, among the papers, documents which show that she ought to have been punished as a calumniator, rather than be called to utter, under oath, lies against respectable people. The following deposition was sworn to in Court: —

The Testimony of Joseph Fowler, who testifieth that Goodman Bibber and his wife lived at my house; and I did observe and take notice that Goodwife Bibber was a woman who was very idle in her calling, and very much given to tattling and tale-bearing, making mischief amongst her neighbors, and very much given to speak bad words, and would call her husband bad names, and was a woman of a very turbulent, unruly spirit.”

Joseph Fowler lived in Wenham, and was a person of respectability and influence. His brother Philip was also a leading man; was employed as attorney by the Village Parish in its lawsuit with Mr. Parris; and married a sister of Joseph Herrick. They were the grandsons of the first Philip, who was an early emigrant from Wales, settling in Ipswich, where he had large landed estates. Henry Fowler and his two brothers, now of Danvers, are the descendants of this family: one of them, Augustus, distinguished as a naturalist, especially in the department of ornithology; the other, Samuel Page Fowler, as an explorer of our early annals and local antiquities. In 1692, one of the Fowlers conducted the proceedings in Court


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against the head and front of the witchcraft prosecution; and the other had the courage, in the most fearful hour of the delusion, to give open testimony in the defence of its victims. It is an interesting circumstance, that one of the same name and descent, in his reprint of the papers of Calef and in other publications, has done as much as any other person of our day to bring that whole transaction under the light of truth and justice.