June 30 (June 20, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council, under the leadership of President John White and meeting on the ship Richard and Sarah in the harbor of Port Royal, drafts a letter to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, the government body in England with authority over the colonies, describing the predicament of the island in the wake of the earthquake on June 7 and asking for ships, men and armaments to help in the recovery and defend against the French.

Mexico: The special court convened to try those arrested in connection with the rioting on June 8, having already dealt with most of the suspects, convicting most and sentencing some those accused of the most serious offenses to death but also acquitting many who were swept up in the indiscriminate raids of the first few days after the riot, begins the trial of the closest thing the authorities have found to a ringleader, an Indian shoemaker named José de los Santos. Santos has been named by several eyewitnesses, particularly Spaniards who witnessed the riot but didn’t take part and have been eager to cooperate with the authorities, as leading the rioters and exhorting them to kill the Spaniards, whom he is quoted as frequently calling “cukolds.” He is a memorable figure, missing one eye and disabled in both legs; he walks on his knees. He also has a reputation as a troublemaker with a sharp tongue and there are persistent rumors among other shoemakers that he killed his mother. He is therefore an easy target for the authorities to try as a leader of the riot, and the prosecutors can easily assemble the kind of careful, well-attested case against him that they prefer but that has been impossible with any of the other suspects in the riots, who have been convicted quickly on the evidence largely of possession of stolen goods and confessions extracted under torture.

Published in: on June 30, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on June 30 (June 20, o.s.)  

June 28 (June 18, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council orders that the sloop Content be impressed and used to keep other ships from leaving the harbor of Port Royal.

Massachusetts: Jonathan Putnam falls ill. John Putnam Sr. and Samuel Parris are at his house, and after observing his suffering they begin to suspect witchcraft and send for Mercy Lewis, one of the afflicted girls, to come and see if there are any witches around. She comes and is immediately struck dumb, but when asked to raise her hand if she sees any witches she does. When she recovers she says she saw Rebecca Nurse and Martha Carrier holding Jonathan’s head.

New Mexico: In the evening Agustín de Colina, the local priest in El Paso, arrives at the house of Governor Vargas with several large books. He tells the governor that, according to the books, he incurred censure by interfering with ecclesiastical jurisdiction when he order a stop to the investigation of priests on June 23. Vargas replies that he was not interfering with ecclesiastical jurisdiction and that his obligation is to do his duty rather than read dry theological treatises, and that if he has incurred censure Colina should absolve him, because he was unaware of any ecclesiastical laws he violated.

Colina then mentions Francisco de Anaya Almazán, the provincial official who informed Vargas about the investigation and was subsequently excommunicated, and says that he almost threw him out of church earlier in the day. Vargas notes that Father Hinojosa, interim president in capite of the Franciscans in New Mexico, absolved Anaya the previous night, and Colina agrees that that happened, implying that it is why he didn’t actually throw him out of church.

Vargas then kneels and says that he doesn’t want to continue this discussion until Colina absolves him. Colina tries to get the governor to look at the books he has brought, but he refuses and insists on absolution. Colina relents and grants him absolution on the grounds that he was unaware of the laws he violated.

Satisfied, Vargas calls for his secretary of government and war, Juan Páez Hurtado, and asks Colina to absolve him as well. Colina does so, then tries to lecture the governor further, but gets nowhere and leaves. Vargas then writes up what happened and has Páez sign his account.

After all this excitement is over, Vargas drafts a letter to the viceroy describing the whole ordeal over the investigation and insisting that it is part of Father Hinojosa’s campaign to usurp royal jurisdiction.  He sends the letter off with copies of the proceedings in the affair to give the viceroy a sense of what happened.

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

June 27 (June 17, o.s.)

New Mexico: Joaquín de Hinojosa, interim president in capite of the Franciscan Order in New Mexico, calls a meeting of Franciscans in the province to decide how to deal with Francisco de Anaya Almazán, the provincial official who was summoned to testify in the investigation of the conduct of local priests on June 23 but then violated the terms of the summons by informing the governor of the investigation and was subsequently excommunicated.  The meeting, held at the pueblo of Ysleta, results in a decision to give Anaya one more chance to repent and be absolved before publicizing his excommunication.

At 8:00 pm Anaya arrives at Ysleta, pleads ignorance and retracts everything he has done.  Hinojosa grants him absolution.

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

June 26 (June 16, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets and orders that the sloop Neptune is to be impressed for naval service to assist the Richard and Sarah, impressed two days before.

Massachusetts: Roger Toothaker, the physician from Billerica who was accused of witchcraft on account of his practice of countermagic, dies in jail in Boston.  A coroner’s jury rules that he died of natural causes.

Published in: on June 26, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

June 25 (June 15, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The ministers asked for their opinions on the witchcraft crisis on June 13 submit their answer to the council.  They praise the efforts of the judges to root out witchcraft, as well as their piety, but they caution against putting too much faith in the spectral evidence given by the afflicted persons, and state clearly that the Devil can appear in the shape of any person to afflict others directly, without the need for a witch as intermediary.  This statement directly contradicts the position taken by William Stoughton, chief judge of the Court of Oyer and Terminer and lieutenant governor of the colony, who, in response to the frequent use by witchcraft suspects of the defense that the Devil has taken on their form to afflict people directly, has argues that the Devil cannot take on the form of anyone truly innocent.  The ministers, however, disagree.  They also criticize the tendency for the judges to conduct initial interrogations of suspects in the presence of both the afflicted persons and the general public, and insist that only well-established legal tests of witchcraft should be used.  Despite these criticisms, however, the ministers do condone the proceedings, and they recommend the “speedy and vigorous prosecutions” of those who have “rendered themselves obnoxious” through their witchcraft.

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on June 25 (June 15, o.s.)  

June 24 (June 14, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in what’s left of Port Royal. The Richard and Sarah, a merchant ship captained by Thomas Stubbs, is impressed for naval duty in the wake of the earthquake under the command of John Marshall. Of the two naval vessels stationed at Port Royal, one, the Swan, was destroyed in the earthquake and the other, the Guernsey, was out cruising and has not yet arrived back in port, so there is a desperate need for ships for official duties and there is no protest at the impressment of private vessels. The councilors also proclaim that any goods stolen in the looting that followed the earthquake be immediately restored to their rightful owners, with receivers appointed to oversee the process and adjudicate disputes, and that Nicholas Lawes and John Bourden secure provisions to distribute to the poor in their precincts, which have been hit especially hard.

Meanwhile, in London, William Beeston is appointed the new governor of Jamaica.

New Mexico: Around 9:30 am Francisco de Anaya Almazán, the provincial official who reported to Governor Vargas the previous day about the investigation being conducted by the local Franciscans, receives a message from Joaquín de Hinojosa, the president in capite of the Franciscan mission in the province, asking him to come to the church in his hometown of San Lorenzo for a meeting.  When Anaya arrives at the church, he goes to the cell of the local priest, Antonio de Acevedo, and finds Hinojosa and Francisco Corvera, the recently appointed apostolic notary who has been conducting the investigation, along with Acevedo.  Acevedo asks Anaya if he knows that he is excommunicated.  Anaya responds that if he is excommunicated he will obey the order, and if he has erred in any way he asks for mercy.  He then asks Hinojosa why he has been excommunicated.  Hinojosa responds that it is because he violated the secrecy of the confessional by telling the governor about the investigation.

Anaya says that he will tell the governor about this excommunication order, and Hinojosa says that that is his right and that, although he has already given the order to Acevedo to publicize the excommunication, he will postpone the publication until Anaya speaks to the governor.

Anaya immediately goes to Governor Vargas and tells him what happened, and the governor apologizes for putting him in this situation and tells him to report back to him if Acevedo does publicize the excommunication so he can come up with an appropriate solution.

Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

June 23 (June 13, o.s.)

Connecticut: Daniel Westcott takes his servant Katherine Branch, whose fits have temporarily stopped, to the house of commissioner Jonathan Selleck in Stamford. Selleck questions her about her afflictions, and asks her if she had ever heard anyone say the names of the women she has accused of witchcraft before. She replies that she had never heard the names until they themselves told her when they began afflicting her. She also says that while Elizabeth Clawson and Mercy Disborough have mostly stopped afflicting her since they were apprehended, there are other witches who appear to her, including a mother and daughter whose names she doesn’t know but who live in Fairfield, a woman from New York named Mary Glover, a “Goody Abison” from Boston, and a “Goody Miller.” The last two she says have been taking her master’s child out of bed and leaving it on the floor. Selleck asks if she is willing to testify under oath about all this, and she says she is.

Massachusetts: The council, meeting in Boston, sends a request to the ministers of the colony asking for their opinions on the witchcraft crisis in Salem. Four of the judges on the Court of Oyer and Terminer assembled to try the suspected witches are present at the meeting, and the decision to ask the advice of the clergy is spurred in part by murmurs of discontent with their handling of the trials that are starting to be heard in various places.

New Mexico: Joaquín de Hinojosa, the interim president of the Franciscan mission in the province who has been embroiled in a dispute over jurisdiction with Governor Vargas for weeks, begins an investigation of the conduct of the priests under his supervision in order to bolster his case against the governor. He has his apostolic notary issue a letter patent ordering five prominent Spanish officials in the provincial government to come to their local churches to answer questions about whether the local priest has been conscientious about carrying out his duties and keeping the church in proper condition. The five officials are Luis Granillo, Francisco de Anaya Almazán, Sebastián González Bas, Francisco Lucero de Godoy, and Cristóbal de Tapia. They are commanded to keep the investigation secret on pain of excommunication.

Granillo, the lieutenant governor, refuses to participate, but the other men dutifully report to their respective churches after being contacted at home by the father missionary, Francisco Corvera, whom Hinojosa has entrusted with carrying out the investigation. Anaya, after coming to the church in his hometown of San Lorenzo and answering the questions about the priest, Antonio de Acevedo, goes to the governor and tells him about the investigation, blatantly violating the terms of the letter patent. The governor is furious that Hinojosa is conducting this investigation behind his back, and decides that, if such an investigation is to be conducted, he should conduct it himself, and only at the express order of the viceroy. He considers Hinojosa’s conduct a usurpation of royal authority. He therefore sends for his secretary of government and war, Juan Páez Hurtado, with orders to track down Corvera and order him to cease the investigation. As witnesses, he summons three of the officials targeted by Hinojosa, Anaya, González and Lucero, along with another official, Lorenzo Madrid. All are residents of San Lorenzo.

Once Páez and the four witnesses have assembled at the governor’s palace, they proceed to the church of San Lorenzo, accompanied by Governor Vargas and Lieutenant Governor Granillo. When they arrive, the governor first goes alone to the cell of Father Acevedo, soon followed by the lieutenant governor while the witnesses remain outside. After a few words with Acevedo, Vargas orders Páez and the witnesses to come in. Once they are all present, the governor tells Acevedo that he has heard about the investigation being conducted by Corvera and says that he considers this an interference with royal jurisdiction. He further says that he sees no need for such an investigation in the case of Acevedo himself, and praises the priest immensely, saying that he considers him easily qualified not only for the highest positions in the Franciscan Order but for the most prestigious bishoprics in New Spain and even the papal throne.

Acevedo modestly thanks the governor, who then asks if Corvera is in one of the cells at the church. The priest responds that he has gone to the nearby pueblos of Ysleta and Senecú, presumably to continue his investigation, but he doesn’t know which one he is at right now. Vargas therefore orders Páez and the witnesses to go to the pueblos and find Corvera.

As it turns out, Corvera is at Senecú, interviewing the native governor, Lucas Bachalo, through an interpreter named Juan Esteban. Páez and the witnesses arrive around 6:00 pm at the residence of the local priest, José de Espínola Almonacid and find him talking to Corvera. Páez asks Espínola if he can inform Corvera of the governor’s orders. Espínola readily grants permission. Páez then reads the governor’s order to Corvera, who responds that as a subject of the king of Spain he will obey the king and his local representative, the governor, but that as a priest and a member of the Franciscan Order he much obey his superior, Father Hinojosa. Páez writes down this reply as part of his account of the day’s events and has the witnesses sign the paper to verify the accuracy of the account.

As he leaves the pueblo, Corvera turns to Anaya and tells him that he is excommunicated and should seek absolution.

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (5)  

June 22 (June 12, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The battle in Maine over the settlement of Wells that began the previous day with an attack by French and Wabanaki forces rages on. By evening the attackers decide that they will never be able to take the garrison where the English colonists have barricaded themselves or the ships in the harbor, and they content themselves with burning the town’s remaining buildings to the town and killing all the livestock they see. They also taunt the settlers in the garrison and call them cowards for not coming out and fighting. They do manage to capture one settler, whom they take out of gunshot range from the garrison but still in full view of those within it. As those in the garrison look on, they scalp the man alive, castrate him, cut him with knives between his fingers and toes, and begin stabbing him in various parts of his body and stick burning firebrands into the wounds. They continue this until he is dead, then depart.

New Mexico: The meeting of the council of Franciscans in New Mexico called by Father Hinojosa on June 17 takes place. As Hinojosa intended in calling the meeting, the council goes to governor Vargas and asks for a copy of the proceedings in the dispute between him and Hinojosa. The governor replies that he has already sent a copy to the viceroy and therefore will not provide another copy. Though the priests beg him to reconsider, he refuses, and he suggests that the request may impinge on his exercise of the king’s right, granted by the Pope, to spread the Gospel in his domains. This angers the Franciscans, and heated words are exchanged.

All of the provincial officials are present and witness this dispute, and there is also a substantial crowd of ordinary citizens; the priests suspect that they are there because the governor called a general muster of the populace. Juan Muñoz de Castro, one of the Franciscans, pointedly asks the crowd if any of the priests has ever thrown the Indians out of their pueblos or neglected anyone in need.  No one challenges his implication, and the priests leave soon afterward.

The members of the council sign a statement certifying what happened, and Hinojosa sends it, along with an explanatory letter, to Juan Capistrano and Diego Trujillo, the leaders of the Franciscan movement in New Spain, hoping that they will use their influence with the viceroy to rein in the governor.

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

June 21 (June 11, o.s.)

Massachusetts: A large group of Wabanaki Indians and French soldiers attacks the settlement of Wells, Maine.  The settlers quickly take refuge in the fortified garrison of the town; some of the men are on ships in the harbor.  The attackers try to overtake both the garrison and the ships, but are unsuccessful even after many attempts.

Mexico: The viceroy, acting on widespread suspicions that the Indians of Mexico City were primarily responsible for the riots there on June 8, orders that all Indians living in the central part of the city except those working in bakeries or as personal servants and those living with Spaniards are expelled to the outlying Indian neighborhoods of the city or, for those who have only come to the city recently, to their rural villages of origin. They are ordered to leave within twenty days.

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

June 20 (June 10, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Bridget Bishop, convicted of witchcraft at the first session of the Court of Oyer and Terminer on June 2 and sentenced to death, is hanged on Gallows Hill in Salem.  Maintaining her innocence to the last, Bishop makes no confession.

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on June 20 (June 10, o.s.)