April 4 (March 25, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Betty Parris, the daughter of Salem Village minister Samuel Parris, having been sent to stay with her father’s friend Samuel Sewall in Salem Town in hopes of easing her afflictions, claims to see “the great black man,” who offers her anything she wants if she will serve him and promises to take her to a “golden city.” Her hostess tells her that it was surely the Devil, and that he was a liar and she should tell him so if he comes again. He does, and Betty tells him he is a liar and reports back to Mrs. Sewall that she did so.

Meanwhile, in Salem Village, local farmer and tavern-keeper John Proctor, whose wife Elizabeth was initially accused of witchcraft by Ann Putnam on March 6, mentions to Samuel Sibley, uncle of the afflicted girl Mary Walcott, that he is on his way into the village to bring home his maidservant, Mary Warren, and beat the Devil out of her. He says that all the afflicted girls should be beaten rather than indulged, otherwise everyone in the village would be accused of witchcraft sooner or later, and that when Mary started having fits he threatened to beat her and that kept her from having any more until the next time he was away from home, when she began to have them again.

Mexico/New Mexico: Pedro Reneros de Posada, a former governor of New Mexico now living in Mexico City, writes to the current governor of New Mexico, his friend Diego de Vargas. He reports the deaths of several prominent people in the city, and that he was very ill but has recovered. He mentions the great scarcity of everything, a reference to the continuing problems with the harvest and the supply of grain to the city. The main point of his letter is to inform Governor Vargas of his investigations into rumors about one Sebastián Rodríguez, a black man living in El Paso. Rodríguez, who was once a slave of Reneros, is now free and wishes to marry Isabel Holguín, a citizen of New Mexico. His attempts, however, have been obstructed by rumors that he has a wife in Veracruz, rumors which prevented him from marrying Antonia Naranja in 1689. Reneros reports to Vargas that he has spoken to the people in Mexico City from who he had heard the rumors and that they told him that Rodríguez had no wife in Veracruz, and that Reneros must have misunderstood them when they were talking about another black man who did. Reneros therefore encourages Rodríguez to marry Holguín, says that his previous objections were based on his misunderstanding what he had heard on account of his failing memory.

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Published in: on April 4, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on April 4 (March 25, o.s.)  
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