Massachusetts: Responding to the series of disastrous events that have befallen the colony in the past year, including the witchcraft crisis, the council calls for a public fast day on December 29 to repent for whatever sins may have brought such suffering as punishment to the people of Massachusetts.
Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal. The captain of the recently arrived slave ship appears before the councilors, who order him to take his slaves and go away. The councilors also order that gunpowder for the Port Royal fortifications be purchased, that Lord Inchiquin’s executor be charged 800 pounds, that the wreckage of HMS Swan, which was destroyed in the earthquake, be sold, and that HMS Mordaunt cruise toward Porto Bello in Panama. A letter from Queen Mary dated September 7 promising to send a squadron of troops to the West Indies and exhorting the Jamaicans to take heart is read and a reply is ordered to be written.
New Mexico: Father Francisco Corvera, the Franciscan missionary who accompanied Governor Diego de Vargas on his reconquest expedition and was granted authority over the missions to Acoma, Zuni and Hopi, approaches the governor in El Paso and asks for the religious paraphernalia found by the expedition at Zuni on November 11 and brought to El Paso to be reconsecrated. Vargas agrees to do so, and gathers his chief ministers and the newly appointed leader of the missions in the reconquered territories, Father Salvador de San Antonio, as witnesses to the formal delivery of the articles to Corvera. The hand-off is duly performed and witnessed, and Vargas mentions to San Antonio in the course of it that he promised to return the items to the Zunis once the reconsecration was complete.
Massachusetts: The assembly authorizes a meeting of the new Supreme Court of Judicature on January 3 to deal with the large backlog of witchcraft cases left over from the dissolved Court of Oyer and Terminer. This is the last action of the assembly before it ends its fall session.
Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal. A slave ship has recently arrived, and given the slave insurrection in the east of the island, the councilors order that the slaves on it be jailed and the captain commanded to appear before the Council on December 19. Payment to the owners of the sloop Neptune for its use by the government after the earthquake is ordered. HMS Guernsey is to be supplied.
Massachusetts: The assembly passes the witchcraft bill introduced on December 12.
Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal. The councilors order that supplies and slaves be provided to the militia in the windward (eastern) part of the island to assist in suppressing a slave rebellion, and that all militia colonels are to be warned to take care to prevent similar uprisings in their districts. Captain Michael Hollingsworth is to be arrested and tried at the next general court. Military supplies at Port Royal are to be inventoried, HMS Mordaunt is to be supplied, and preparations are to be made to entertain the new governor for a week upon his arrival.
Massachusetts: A bill putting forth a new law on witchcraft, a quite pressing issue in the colony at the moment, is introduced in the assembly. The proposed statute is nearly identical to the prevailing law in England, which was passed in 1604 and which stipulates the death penalty for occult practices resulting in death or bodily injury. It differs from the English law, however, in omitting the section preserving rights of inheritance for heirs of executed witches, a change made to protect George Corwin, the Essex County sheriff, who has already seized most of the estates of the witches executed during the current crisis.
New Mexico: Roque Madrid, whom governor Vargas left on December 13 with most of the reconquest expedition’s livestock and orders to proceed at a leisurely pace to El Paso so as to minimize further losses, arrives at El Paso around noon. Although he was careful not to put too much stress on the animals, he couldn’t help but lose a few of them given their condition. Vargas is understanding and grateful that as many animals were saved as possible.
Massachusetts: Samuel Ray of Salem posts a bond of fifty pounds for the release from jail of Dorothy Good, whose mother Sarah Good was executed for witchcraft on July 19 and who has herself confessed to being a witch, pending trial by the new Supreme Court of Judicature.
New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his troops arrive at El Paso around 11:00 am. All the civil and ecclesiastical authorities come to greet him, as do most of the citizens. His first act upon arriving is to go to the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for her assistance in making his expedition so successful. He then goes to the plaza, dismounts, and asks his lieutenant governor, Luis Granillo, about the recent trouble with the Apaches. Granillo reports that they raided twice and took twenty horses and some cattle, but aside from that things had been quiet for the whole four months Vargas was on campaign. Vargas is relieved to hear this.
Massachusetts: The council appoints judges to the new Superior Court of Judicature set up as part of the new judicial system approved by the assembly on November 25. Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton is appointed chief justice, the same position he held in the now-discredited Court of Oyer and Terminer which handled the witchcraft cases now under the purview of the new court. John Richards, Waitstill Winthrop, and Samuel Sewall, also former members of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, are appointed as members of the new court as well, along with Thomas Danforth, a prominent critic of the old court and its handling of the witchcraft cases.
New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his portion of the reconquest expedition cross the Rio Grande and head for the outpost of San Diego. On their way there they see some people approaching on horseback, presumably the people from El Paso sent to receive them upon hearing word of their approach from the messengers sent ahead on December 11. Shortly after Vargas and his men first see them, however, the El Paso group suddenly turns around. Vargas and his men speed up to overtake them and find out what the problem is. Three of the officers, Juan Páez Hurtado, Martín de Alday, and Juan Lucero de Godoy, are the fastest and reach them first. They discover that the problem is a sudden attack by mounted Apaches, who flee when the three men arrive. They do manage to surround two Apaches who are on foot and immediately begin firing their arrows when they realize that they cannot escape. Páez ends up with an arrow through his left leg, and both Alday’s and Lucero’s horses are severely wounded as well.
One of the Apaches is killed in the fight, but the other survives, though badly wounded. When the rest of his men arrive on the scene, Vargas orders that the Apache be kept alive long enough to be interrogated. He is brought along with the expedition as it continues southward, but he has lost so much blood that his condition deteriorates rapidly and Vargas calls a halt at the next stopping place, the outpost of Robledo, in order to question him. When asked about reports of Apaches raiding El Paso, the man admits to having stolen two horses in the past month but says he knows nothing further. Having gained this limited information, Vargas orders the man to be executed, but allows Francisco Corvera, one of the expedition’s priests, to try to convert him first if he wishes. Corvera convinces the man to accept baptism and gives him the name Agustín. Vargas then orders Alday to have four soldiers take the man to one side of the outpost and shoot him. They do so. This incident is the first use of deadly force by the reconquest expedition.