April 30 (April 20, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The Salem magistrates and a group of local ministers question Abigail Hobbs in jail to get further information on her dramatic confession the day before. She says that before her examination she was visited by the specter of Judah White, a girl from Jersey in the Channel Islands who was a maidservant of Joseph Ingersoll in Maine, where Hobbs met her and got to know her well, but now lives in Boston. White’s specter was wearing “fine clothes” and appeared along with the specter of Sarah Good. The two apparitions urged Hobbs not to confess and told her that Sarah Osbourne was also a witch. Hobbs also admits to hurting Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis and Abigail Williams by sticking thorns into wooden dolls representing them, causing them to attribute their pain to her. Furthermore, while during her examination she denied attending the witches’ sacrament on March 31, she now admits that she did attend and partake of the red bread and red wine there.

In the evening, Ann Putnam claims to be afflicted by the apparition of a minister, with which she carries on an extended conversation while he tortures her in a vain attempt to get her to sign his book and join up with Satan. She tells him that he should be ashamed, a minister like him, to be persuading people to join the Devil when he should be teaching children to fear God. He refuses to identify himself for a long time, but eventually relents and says that his name is George Burroughs (a former minister in Salem Village now living in Maine), that he has had three wives and killed the first two with witchcraft, along with the wife and child of his fellow former Salem Village minister Deodat Lawson and “a great many soldiers” in Maine. He further says that he made Abigail Hobbs a witch and that he is no mere witch, but a conjurer, apparently a higher rank in the Devil’s forces.

Around midnight another afflicted girl, Mercy Lewis, sees a new apparition too. A gray-haired old man appears to her and tells her that he is George Jacobs, a resident of Salem Village, and that he has had two wives. He then beats her with a stick to try to get her to sign his book, but she refuses.

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Published in: on April 30, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (3)  

April 29 (April 19, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The Salem magistrates conduct examinations at the Salem Village meetinghouse of the four people (Giles Corey, Abigail Hobbs, Mary Warren, and Bridget Bishop) charged with witchcraft the preceding day. Giles Corey, the husband of accused witch Martha Corey, now imprisoned in Boston, is the first to be examined. Magistrate John Hathorne begins by asking the afflicted persons if they have seen Corey hurt them. Mary Walcott, Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis, and Abigail Williams answer that they have, while Benjamin Gould, the young man who claims to have seen Corey’s specter in his bedroom on April 6 and 7, is more cautious and says only that he saw Corey and was then hurt, declining to state definitively that the two events were connected causally. Hathorne then questions Corey about certain statements he has made about his wife since she was first accused of witchcraft, including his claim that she once mysteriously prevented him from praying and a remark that he knew enough about her to “do her business.” Although Hathorne presses him to elaborate on these statements, Corey will not. When Hathorne asks about Corey’s remark when his wife was taken off to Boston that he wouldn’t go over then but would come the next week, Corey explains that he merely meant that he couldn’t afford the trip just then. The examination concludes with the afflicted persons suffering great pains in various parts of their bodies in response to Corey’s movements of the same parts of his body, and Corey is sent off to jail.

The next to be examined is Abigail Hobbs, a fourteen-year-old girl notorious for casual impiety. When Hathorne asks her if she is guilty, she says “I have seen sights and been scared. I have been very wicked. I hope I shall be better, if God will keep me.” This seems to be a sort of confession, and when Hathorne asks to her to explain what sights she is referring to, she says that she saw the Devil himself, just one time, in Maine (where her family lived when she was younger). On further questioning, she says that this meeting was in the woods, three or four years ago, and that he promised her “fine things” if she would sign up with him, and that she did. She now begs God’s forgiveness. She also says that she signed books for other entities, cats and “things like men,” when they asked her to, and that she promised to serve Satan for two years. Hathorne continues to press for details, and Hobbs obliges, saying that she hurt Mercy Lewis and Ann Putnam, by having the Devil assume her form, with her permission, to go and pinch them. Hathorne asks which other witches she knows, and she names Sarah Good, saying that the Devil himself told her Good was a witch. When Hathorne asks about the large meetings of witches recently mentioned by some of the afflicted persons, however, Hobbs says that while she has heard about them, she has never attended any herself. She does mention another meeting with the Devil, about two weeks ago, when he appeared to her looking like “a black man” wearing a hat. She also admits to speaking to animal familiars, but says that they never sucked her body. When asked how exactly they spoke to her, she is suddenly unable to hear, and the afflicted persons yell out that they see Sarah Good and Sarah Osbourne poking their fingers into her ears. Hobbs then says that Sarah Good is telling her not to speak, and the magistrates end the examination and order her sent to jail.

Throughout Abigail Hobbs’s testimony the afflicted persons are free from the fits that affected them so strongly during most of the other examinations, and after she is taken away Mercy Lewis, Ann Putnam and Abigail Williams repeatedly express sympathy for her condition.

The fits of the afflicted start up again with the entrance of the next examinee, Mary Warren, the maidservant of accused witches John and Elizabeth Proctor who suffered fits herself before she began to be accused. Warren insists that she is innocent and is immediately confronted with the testimony of the afflicted girl Elizabeth Hubbard, who testifies that Warren pressured her to sign the Devil’s book then falls into a terrible fit. Hathorne asks Warren about her switch from afflicted to afflicter, and she answers that she considers it “a great mercy of God.” Shocked, Hathorne responds “What, do you take it to be a great mercy to afflict others?” Elizabeth Hubbard then says that Warren, shortly after recovering from her own fits, accused the other afflicted persons of faking theirs. All the afflicted persons present then fall into fits. Hathorne tells Warren about Hobbs’s confession, whereupon she falls into a fit herself. Some of the afflicted cry out that Martha Corey and the Proctors are preventing Warren, who seems to be struck blind, deaf and dumb, from confessing. She eventually recovers some ability to speak, but can only utter short phrases of contrition and apparent confession before falling back into fits, so the magistrates end the examination and order her sent away.

The final accused person to be examined, Bridget Bishop, now enters the meetinghouse, and the afflicted immediately fall into fits. Bishop looks around at the commotion and declares that she is innocent, but Mary Walcott claims that her brother recently struck Bishop’s specter with a sword, tearing her clothes. Bishop’s clothes are therefore searched, and a tear is found that seems to correspond to the alleged blow.

When Hathorne notes that there are rumors that she killed her first husband through witchcraft, Bishop angrily denies that there is any truth to them and shakes her head, seeming to cause the afflicted to be further tormented. Hathorne then asks if she has dealt with any “familiar spirits” and, if not, how she can explain her specter seeming to torment the afflicted persons. He notes that she seems to be tormenting them now just by moving her body. Bishop responds by saying she doesn’t even know what a witch is, causing Hathorne to ask how, then, she knows that she isn’t one. Bishop is confused, and says that she hasn’t come to confess to witchcraft and be executed for it. Hathorne then asks if she has heard about the recent confessions of others, which she denies, but two men say that they told her. When confronted with this apparent lie, Bishop denies that she heard what the two men said. After Hathorne ends his questioning, one of the spectators in the meetinghouse asks Bishop if it bothers her to see the afflicted being tormented, and she answers that it doesn’t.

Mary Warren is brought back into the meetinghouse to complete her interrupted examination, but she is immediately stricken with fits and is only able to be questioned briefly before being sent out again. She does manage to deny having signed the Devil’s book. She is eventually brought back in again, but is totally unable to speak. The magistrates then end the public proceedings and dismiss the spectators. They continue to question Warren in private, but she is still unable to speak and after trying for a while they send her away and end the proceedings entirely.

Mexico: The Conde de Galve meets with a special junta composed of all the major governmental and ecclesiastical leaders in Mexico City to review the policies of the government in response to the grain shortage and to decide what to do going forward. The measures taken, primarily requisitioning grain supplies from as far away as Guatemala, have so far seemed to successfully forestall a severe shortage in the city, but reserves are running low and it is becoming harder and harder to find enough grain even in distant provinces to keep the city supplied. The royal prosecutor Juan de Escalante y Mendoza recommends that the government devote additional effort to rooting out grain hoarders and force the rich to pay for the cost of importing grain from distant provinces, in addition to requiring rural communities to plant more maize and setting a price ceiling on maize. One of the viceroy’s other officials, Alonso de Arriaga Agüero, disagrees and proposes that the government adopt a more hands-off approach without price controls or other restrictions on grain dealers, which will allow prices to rise to a natural equilibrium and force consumers in the city to adopt a more disciplined attitude to their food purchases. Arraiga’s arguments are ultimately convincing to the viceroy and the other members of the junta, who unanimously adopt them. There are some murmurs of dissatisfaction despite the official unanimity, however, especially on the part of the Dean of the Cathedral, Diego Ortiz de Malpartida, who notes that the decision doesn’t actually do anything to solve the problem.

Mexico/New Mexico: Juan Fernández de la Fuente, captain of the presidio of San Felipe and Santiago de Janos in northern Nueva Vizcaya, writes to Governor Pardiñas of Nueva Vizcaya in response to the viceroy’s request for opinions on the plan by Governor Vargas of New Mexico to reconquer the territory that was lost in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Fernández’s presidio is the closest to El Paso, and he and Vargas have recently conducted joint campaigns against the Apaches in the area, which Vargas has complained have kept him from pursuing his plans for reconquest. Fernández counters that those campaigns, which for him continued until late March, were against the Apaches who threatened both Sonora and El Paso, and that even if Vargas is successful in reconquering Santa Fe he will have to deal with raids by the Apaches on the outlying areas throughout New Mexico. He therefore counsels that decisively defeating the Apaches of the El Paso area should be Vargas’s first priority, and that an attempt at reconquest is likely to be an expensive failure, as previous attempts have shown.

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)  

April 28 (April 18, o.s.)

Jamaica: Samuel Bernard writes to the Earl of Nottingham, defending himself against charges of disloyalty lodged against him by Lord Inchiquin. He describes the conflicts between Inchiquin and the Assembly as resulting from the governor’s greed and authoritarianism.

Massachusetts: Ezekiel Cheever and John Putnam, Jr., whose infant daughter died on April 15 under mysterious circumstances, file a complaint with the Salem magistrates alleging witchcraft by Abigail Hobbs, a fourteen-year-old girl from Topsfield first accused by Ann Putnam on April 13 and subsequently accused by other afflicted girls as well; Giles Corey, the husband of accused witch Martha Corey; Mary Warren, the maidservant of John and Elizabeth Proctor, both recently accused of witchcraft and jailed in Boston with Martha Corey and others; and Bridget Bishop of Salem Town, who was charged with witchcraft twelve years earlier but acquitted.

Published in: on April 28, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

April 27 (April 17, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Mercy Lewis, one of the afflicted girls of Salem Village, accuses Abigail Hobbs, previously accused by Ann Putnam and Mary Walcott, of attacking her as well.

Meanwhile, Abigail’s stepmother Deliverance Hobbs suffers fits herself and accuses Sarah Wilds, a fellow resident of Topsfield long rumored to be a witch, of afflicting her.

Published in: on April 27, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on April 27 (April 17, o.s.)  

April 25 (April 15, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The two-month-old daughter of John Putnam, Jr., a weaver in Salem Village, dies after having suffered strange fits for about two days, despite the best efforts of a doctor to save her.  Putnam, a cousin of Sergeant Thomas Putnam, whose wife and daughter are among the afflicted persons involved in witchcraft allegations, concludes that his child’s illness and death, along with a similar illness he himself suffered and recovered from shortly before, resulted from his repeating some gossip about accusations of witchcraft made many years before against Joanna Towne, the mother of the recently accused witches Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Cloyce.

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April 24 (April 14, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal. The councilors decide to pay William Beeston and Gilbert Heathcote three hundred pounds sterling to represent the colony in England. The councilors also order that the salary of Lord Inchiquin should be paid to his executor, James O’Brien.

Massachusetts: Mary Walcott, one of the afflicted girls of Salem Village, claims that Abigail Hobbs, first accused by Ann Putnam the previous day, is now attacking her, too, by choking her and pinching her to try to get her to sign the Devil’s book.

Published in: on April 24, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on April 24 (April 14, o.s.)  

April 23 (April 13, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The afflicted girl Ann Putnam of Salem Village complains that she is being tortured by a new tormentor, fourteen-year-old Abigail Hobbs of neighboring Topsfield.  Hobbs has a history of making flippant remarks about having signed a pact with Satan, so it’s hardly surprising that she would become a target of witchcraft allegations as the panic over witches in Essex County begins to deepen.

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on April 23 (April 13, o.s.)  

April 22 (April 12, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The members of the Massachusetts council who conducted the examinations of Sarah Cloyce and Elizabeth Proctor the preceding day in Salem Town order Cloyce and Proctor, along with Proctor’s husband John, accused of witchcraft during the examination, and the previously accused witches Rebecca Nurse, Martha Corey and Dorothy Good, sent to jail in Boston.  Although in previous instances jailing the accused had usually resulted in a respite from the sufferings of the afflicted, in this case there is nothing of the sort.  Indeed, Samuel Parris, minister in Salem Village, while trying to write a report on the afflictions suffered by his niece Abigail Williams, his slave John Indian, and Mary Walcott, another of the afflicted girls, all of whom are at his house, keeps getting interrupted by John and Abigail falling into fits and complaining of being tortured by the Proctors and Cloyce, until eventually he has to send them out of the room so he can finish.  Once he does finish the report, Mary Walcott, who has spent most of this time quietly knitting, suddenly cries out that she sees the apparitions of all of the accused witches being sent to Boston and that John Proctor is about to choke her, and she then falls down as if being choked.

Published in: on April 22, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on April 22 (April 12, o.s.)  

April 21 (April 11, o.s.)

Jamaica: The council meets in Port Royal and decides to immediately impress another sloop to join the Pembroke and Greyhound in patrolling the coast to prevent French attacks. The councilors also decide to send away the French prisoners on the island under a flag of truce.

Massachusetts: Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce, accused of witchcraft on April 4, appear at the Salem Town meetinghouse to be questioned. In addition to John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, the Salem Town magistrates who conducted all the previous interrogations of accused witches, the proceedings are presided over by Lieutenant Governor Thomas Danforth, Secretary Isaac Addington, Samuel Sewall of Salem Town, and two other members of the Massachusetts council. Nicholas Noyes, minister in Salem Town, opens the proceedings with a prayer. Danforth asks the questions.

He begins by asking John Indian, a slave of Salem Village minister Samuel Parris and the husband of the accused witch Tituba, now among the afflicted, who has hurt him. John accuses both Proctor and Cloyce of choking him and trying to get him to sign their books and devote himself to the service of the Devil. After he goes on with his accusations for a while, Cloyce interrupts him and asks “When did I hurt thee?” “A great many times,” he replies, to which she responds that he is a “grievous liar.” He insists, however that she most recently tormented him “yesterday at meeting.”

Danforth next asks Mary Walcott, one of the afflicted girls, who has hurt her, and she accuses Cloyce, along with previously accused witches Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse and many others whose names she doesn’t know. She then falls into a fit and Danforth moves on to Abigail Williams, who has previously claimed to have seen a gathering of witches on March 31 in a pasture next to the house of her uncle, Samuel Parris. She now elaborates on this demonic sacrament, saying that about 40 witches were there, and that Cloyce and Sarah Good, one of the first to be accused of witchcraft, were the deacons. Abigail even says that she spoke to Cloyce at the time and asked her if it was right for receive the sacrament then, since she had refused to receive it in church on the previous Sunday (when she walked out upon hearing the text on which Parris intended to give his sermon and concluded, correctly, that he would use the opportunity to lambaste the accused witches, including her sister Rebecca Nurse). She also says that there was a second witches’ sacrament some time after the first one, this time near the tavern of Nathaniel Ingersoll, and that Cloyce, Nurse, Corey and Good all participated. Upon hearing this accusation, Cloyce asks for some water and has to sit down, seeming lightheaded. The afflicted then begin to have fits, and some of them say that her spirit has gone to prison with her sister Rebecca Nurse.

Danforth now begins to question the other accused witch, Elizabeth Proctor, first asking the afflicted if she has ever hurt them. All the girls are struck dumb, but John Indian accuses her of coming “in her shift” and choking him. Ann Putnam then regains the ability to speak and accuses Proctor of making her maid, Marry Warren, sign the Devil’s book. Abigail Williams, also recovering her power of speech, even asks Proctor point-blank if she did not say that her maid had signed, but Proctor denies everything, saying she knows “nothing of it, no more than the child unborn.” Ann and Abigail then fall into fits in which they claim to see Proctor’s specter on the beam of the meetinghouse. They then accuse her husband John, there to support her, of committing witchcraft as well. The rest of the afflicted then fall into fits as well, and some accuse Goodman Proctor of trying to lift up the feet of the afflicted Mrs. Bathshua Pope, whereupon her feet are indeed lifted up. Proctor insists that he is innocent, but Abigail accuses him of afflicting Mrs. Pope, who then falls into a fit. Danforth, noting the accuracy of the girls’ prediction of what happened to Mrs. Pope, encourages Proctor to confess, and Abigail predicts that he will attack several more of the afflicted, who immediately fall into fits in accordance with her predictions. She reaches out gingerly to touch Elizabeth Proctor’s hood, then immediately cries out that her fingers are burning, whereupon Ann Putnam falls into a terrible fit.

The examination, such as it was, being now concluded, the councilors who are present convene to discuss the results. They decide to order John Proctor put in custody along with his wife and Sarah Cloyce.

Published in: on April 21, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

April 18 (April 8, o.s.)

Massachusetts: John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, magistrates in Salem Town, issue a warrant for Elizabeth Proctor and Sarah Cloyce, accused of witchcraft on April 4, to appear for questioning at the Salem Town meetinghouse on April 11.  Although all of the witchcraft examinations in Salem so far have taken place in Salem Village, mostly in public at the meetinghouse, and have been conducted by Hathorne, the magistrates decide that these examinations will be conducted in Salem Town by Thomas Danforth, the deputy governor of Massachusetts, and that some members of the Massachusetts council will also attend.

Published in: on April 18, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on April 18 (April 8, o.s.)