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Salem Witchcraft Papers

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SWP No. 131.1

( Rev. Increase Mather's Report of his Conversation in Prison with Martha Tyler )

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Goodwife Tyler did say, that when she was first apprehended, she had no fears upon her, and did think that nothing could have made her confesse against herself; but since, she had found to her great grief, that she had wronged the truth, and falsely accused herself: she said, that, when she was brought to Salem, her brother Bridges rode with her, and that all along the way from Andover to Salem, her brother kept telling her that she must needs be a witch, since the afflicted accused her, and at her touch were raised out of their fitts, and urging her to confess herself a witch; She as constantly told him, that she was no witch, that she knew nothing of witchcraft, and begg'd him not to urge her to confesse; however when she came to Salem, she was carried to a room, where her brother on one side and Mr. John Emerson on the other side did tell her that she was certainly a witch, and that she saw the devill before her eyes at that time (and accordingly the said Emerson would attempt with his hand to beat him away from her eyes) and they so urged her to confess, that she wished herself in any dungeon, rather than be so treated. Mr. Emerson told her once and again, `Well, I see you will not confesse! Well, I will now leave you, and then you are undone, body and soul, forever.' Her brother urged her to confesse, and told her that, in so doing, she could not lye: to which she answered, `Good brother, do not say so, for I shall lye if I confess, and then who shall answer unto God for my lye?' He still asserted it, and said that God would not suffer so many good men to be in such an errour about it, and that she would be hang'd if she did not confesse, and continued so long and so violently to urge and press her to confesse, that she thought verily her life would have gone from her, and became so terrifyed in her mind, that she own'd, at length, almost any thing that they propounded to her; but she had wronged her conscience in so doing, she was guilty of a great sin in belying of herself, and desired to mourn for it so long as she lived: This she said and a great deal more of the like nature. and all with such affection, sorrow, relenting, grief, and mourning, as that it exceeds any pen to describe and express the same.

(Charles W. Upham, Salem Witchcraft [Boston, 1867] II, 404-405.)