January 13 (January 3, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Samuel Parris, minister in Salem Village, a rural area technically part of the Town of Salem but distinct from it socially and often at odds with the wealthier urbanized town, preaches a sermon on Psalm 110:1, “Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies my footstool.” Parris has been preaching a series of sermons on this verse since November.  The theme of this sermon is the Devil’s constant attempts to destroy the Church, and the role of “wicked” men in assisting him. This theme echoes ongoing tensions in Salem Village, which has only recently acquired its own church, between members of the church, who have had public experiences of spiritual awakening, and nonmembers, who, even if they have been baptized, are not allowed to take communion. Parris, who is increasingly unpopular among the nonmember majority, has a tendency to emphasize the rightness of his faction through sermons like this one implicitly comparing his adversaries to the Devil’s henchmen.

Mexico: The farmers and agricultural workers of the provinces of Chalco, Tlaxcala and Huamantla send a petition to the viceroy, the Conde de Galve, asking him to revoke the ban on planting white wheat that was instituted in 1677 by Payo Enríquez de Rivera, the viceroy at that time. The harvest of 1691 was extremely poor and the viceroy and his ministers have been searching frantically since September for sources of grain for Mexico City, looking as far afield as the Yucatan peninsula. The cultivation of white wheat, which is easy to grow and produces an abundant crop but which is rumored to be dangerous and of low quality, was forbidden under penalty of excommunication by Enríquez de Rivera, who was also Archbishop of Mexico, but it’s not clear whether there is any merit to the rumors about it and it is alleged by some that the ban was the result of greed rather than genuine concern for public health. Given the difficult situation regarding the grain supply at this point, the farmers urge the viceroy to repeal the ban in the hope that white wheat can make up for the shortages of other grains.

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Published in: on January 13, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on January 13 (January 3, o.s.)  
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