May 22 (May 12, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Salem magistrates John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin visit the jail in Salem Town to conduct further questioning of witchcraft suspects they have already examined.  In the wake of the recent confessions of the teenagers Sarah Churchwell and Margaret Jacobs, they are particularly interested in the other two young confessors, Abigail Hobbs and Mary Warren.

The magistrates’ questioning of Hobbs focuses solely on George Burroughs, the minister who was brought from his home in Maine to Salem and questioned on May 9.  Although Hobbs also lived in Maine at one point, and her initial confession on April 19 included an admission that she first met the Devil in the woods there, she did not mention Burroughs, who has been named by several of the afflicted girls as the ringleader of the witches. Now, however, she admits that he directed her to afflict several people in Maine, but she only names one specific victim, a girl named Mary Lawrence, and denies that Burroughs had her stick pins in poppets of his wives or children or the soldiers sent to fight on the frontier under Sir Edmond Andros, all of whom he has been accused of killing through witchcraft.  She does say that Burroughs brought her poppets of the people she did afflict, and that her sticking pins in the poppets resulted in the deaths of the represented people, both boys and girls.  She also says that Burroughs appeared in person (rather than spectrally) both to give her the poppets and to get her to write in his book.  While she disliked Mary Lawrence personally because of some bad things Mary had said about her, she says that Burroughs was “angry with that family” for reasons of his own and that he therefore provided her with a poppet of Mary to stick thorns into.  She also admits to having signed two pacts with the Devil, one for two years and another for four, and thus having been a witch a total of six years, and while she says she knew several other witches in Maine, she claims to not know who they were.  This is a rather frustrating result for the magistrates, who are seeking both to bolster their case against Burroughs and root out any additional witches.

The interrogation of Mary Warren is more useful for at least one of their goals.  They start off more or less where they left off at her initial examination on April 21, which was cut short when she began having severe fits and was rendered unable to answer questions, by asking about the book her master, John Proctor, brought to her to sign.  They ask if she knew what she was doing when she touched it, and she replies that she didn’t then but does now.  She also admits to having stuck pins into poppets to afflict Ann Putnam and Abigail Williams, and that two women from Salem Town, Alice Parker and Ann Pudeator, brought her poppets of Mercy Lewis and Mary Walcott, respectively, to stick pins in.  She also names as witches Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Cloyce, Bridget Bishop, Dorothy Good, and Giles Corey, all of whom have already been charged and jailed.

John Higginson, minister in Salem Town, and John Hale, minister in Beverly, arrive at the jail just in time to see Warren begin to fall into severe fits upon hearing the names of Alice Parker and Ann Pudeator, both of whom seem to be both afflicting her and confessing to a variety of murders, mostly at sea (although Pudeator also confesses to having killed her husband about ten years before).  Parker’s specter also admits to having bewitched Warren’s sister, striking her dumb, and Pudeator’s confesses to having conspired with George Burroughs to bewitch the magistrates’ horses in order to hinder the legal proceedings against the accused witches.  Warren also claims to see the specter of Burroughs himself admitting that he killed his wife “off of Cape Ann” on her way back to Salem from Maine.

Hathorne and Corwin immediately issue warrants for Alice Parker and Ann Pudeator to be arrested and brought in for questioning.  Since both women live in Salem Town, the warrants are executed swiftly, and the magistrates are able to question them without any delay.  On being questioned about Warren’s accusations of having destroying the ship of one Captain Westgate and bewitching Warren’s own sister, Parker denies having had any part in either misfortune.  Warren, still present at the examinations, is insistent that Parker had both rendered her sister dumb and killed her mother after her father failed to mow some grass for her as he had promised.  She also says that Parker’s specter admitted to attending the witches’ sacrament in Samuel Parris’s pasture on March 31 previously described by Abigail Williams and Mercy Lewis.  Marshall George Herrick, who brought her in for questioning, says that she told him when he arrived that “there were threescore witches of the company,” and when Parker is asked to explain this remark she is unable to.  Nicholas Noyes, a minister at Parker’s church in Salem Town, testifies that he has spoken to her in the past, at a time when she was ill, about whether she is a witch.

After concluding their examinations, the magistrates order Pudeator and Parker sent to jail in Boston, along with seven other people currently being held in Salem: George Jacobs, William Hobbs (father of the confessor Abigail Hobbs), Edward Bishop, Bridget Bishop, Mary Black (a slave of Nathaniel Putnam of Salem Village), and Mary English (wife of the Salem Town merchant Philip English, also accused of witchcraft and currently at large).

Mexico/New Mexico: The royal prosecutor, Benito de Noboa Salgado, writes to the Conde de Galve giving his opinions on the letters of Governor Vargas regarding his plans for the reconquest of New Mexico and his troubles getting the former New Mexicans now settled in Nueva Vizcaya to return and assist in the reconquest. Noboa’s opinion on the plans for reconquest is that Vargas should be given the fifty soldiers that he asks for, and that 100 soldiers will be plenty for the expedition, with thirty left in El Paso to guard the settlements there. He suspects that Vargas will have little difficulty reconquering Santa Fe and, having done so, peacefully bringing the Pueblos back under Spanish control, since rebellions never have unanimous support and there are likely substantial factions in the Pueblos that would support the return of the Spanish. As for the settlers in Nueva Vizcaya, Noboa recommends that the viceroy issue new dispatches declaring that those who do not return to New Mexico will be ineligible for appointments to office after the reconquest.

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