May 1 (April 21, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal. The councilors order the arrest of the boatswain of HMS Swan for refusing to obey the captain and send the sloop Pembroke to sail toward Hispaniola to keep an eye on the movements of a French fleet of eight men-of-war and one privateer that is rumored to be cruising in that area.

Massachusetts: The magistrates and ministers in Salem Village interview Mary Warren in jail to try to get more information from her than they were able to get from her problematic examination on April 19.  She still has frequent fits but is able to tell them more details.  She says that Elizabeth Proctor pulled her out of bed one night and told her that she was a witch.  John Proctor then brought a book for Mary to sign to become a witch herself, but she only touched it with a wet finger, leaving a black mark.  Upon hearing this her interrogators chastise her for yielding to the Devil, insisting that she could have resisted and only gave in “for ease to her body, not for any good of her soul.”  She then starts crying and insists that she only did it because the Proctors threatened to hurt her if she didn’t.  When asked if she has seen any other witches since he has been in jail, she names Sarah Good and Giles Corey.  She says she didn’t tell the whole truth before because of the witches’ threats to her, but that she will tell everything now.  She says she never tormented the afflicted personally, but that she suspected the Devil did in her form.  She insists, however, that she never consented to this.  She admits to touching the Devil’s book twice, whereupon Nicholas Noyes, minister in Salem Town, asks if she suspected it was the Devil’s book the second time.  She responds that she was afraid it was “no good book,” and when asked what she means by that she glosses it as “a book to deceive.”

Meanwhile, Thomas Putnam sends a letter to John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin, the Salem magistrates who are busy questioning Mary Warren in jail.  In it he describes his daughter Ann’s encounter with the specter of George Burroughs, the former minister in Salem Village, the previous evening.

In the late morning Abigail Williams, walking on the road near Nathaniel Ingersoll’s tavern with Ingersoll’s adoptive son Benjamin Hutchinson, sees Burroughs’s apparition herself.  She describes him as “a little black minister” who lived in Maine, and in addition to the allegations that he killed two of his wives as well as Deodat Lawsons, also reported by Ann Putnam, she says that he admits to making nine witches in Salem Village and that he can hold out the heaviest gun in Casco Bay (Maine) with one hand, whereas no ordinary man could do so with both hands.  Hutchinson thrusts his pitchfork where Abigail indicates the specter, and she says he tore Burroughs’s coat.  When they reach the tavern around noon Abigail again sees Burroughs’s specter, but it quickly turns into that of a gray cat.  Hutchinson stabs at the place she indicates with his sword, and Abigail falls into a fit.  When she recovers she says that he killed the cat, but Sarah Good came immediately and carried it away.

Around 4:00 pm, back at the tavern after attending Samuel Parris’s regular Thursday sermon at the meetinghouse, Abigail and Mary Walcott see the specters of William and Deliverance Hobbs, the father and stepmother of confessed witch Abigail Hobbs.  Benjamin Hutchinson, playing what by now seems to be his usual role in these things, stabs at the specters with his sword, and the girls say he stabbed Goodwife Hobbs in the side.  They then say that the room is full of specters, and Hutchinson and Eleazer Putnam, a cousin of Ann Putnam’s father Thomas, swing their swords wildly around at them.  The girls eventually say that they killed “a great black woman of Stonington” along with an Indian and another apparition they don’t recognize, and that the floor is covered in blood.  They look outside and say that there is “a great company of them on a hill.”

When the magistrates are finished at the jail, Thomas Putnam and John Buxton appear before them to file complaints against nine new people for witchcraft.  Most of the nine are from Topsfield, home of the confessor Abigail Hobbs, including William and Deliverance Hobbs; Sarah Wilds, a woman long suspected of witchcraft; Mary Easty, sister of the previously accused Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Cloyce; and Nehemiah Abbot Jr.  The others are Mary Black, a slave of Salem Village resident Nathaniel Putnam; Mary English, wife of the wealthy Salem Town merchant Philip English; and Edward and Sarah Bishop of Salem Village.  Hathorne and Corwin issue warrants for the accused to appear for questioning at the Salem Village meetinghouse on April 22.

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

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  1. […] 2 (April 22, o.s.) Massachusetts: The nine people accused of witchcraft the previous day are brought to the Salem Village meetinghouse to be questioned.  So many spectators attend that […]


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