October 21 (October 11, o.s.)

Massachusetts: Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, chief justice of the Court of Oyer and Terminer convened to handle witchcraft cases, and Samuel Sewall, a member of the court and the brother of the court clerk, Stephen Sewall, write and sign a statement to be included in Cotton Mather’s forthcoming book on the witchcraft crisis in which they affirm that Mather’s accounts of some of the trials conducted by the court are accurate.

Meanwhile, the New York ministers to whom Governor William Phips sent a list of questions about witchcraft on October 5 write a reply in which they state that witchcraft exists and consists of an alliance with the Devil, but that the Devil can also assume the shape of innocent people to cause spectral torments directly.  This has been a very controversial issue in the trials in Salem, with many of the accused using exactly this argument as a defense, to which some of the judges, particularly Stoughton, have responded that this sort of affliction without a human intermediary is impossible.

Mexico/New Mexico: The viceroy receives the letters sent to him by Governor Vargas on July 13 describing his plans for reconquest and Governor Pardiñas on October 6 certifying that he sent Governor Vargas the fifty soldiers he requested to aid in the reconquest on August 13.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas departs from his campsite at Santo Domingo Pueblo, bound for Cieneguilla Pueblo.  Because the road to Cieneguilla is very rough, he sends the artillery captain ahead with the artillery and the members of the expedition who will be departing soon for El Paso with orders to stop and wait for him at the abandoned hacienda of Cristóbal de Anaya.  He himself goes with five squads of soldiers past the abandoned Pueblo of Cochiti until he reaches Cieneguilla, where he finds the people of the Pueblos of Cochiti, San Marcos and San Felipe.  They have made a shelter for him on the plaza and greet him warmly, and he pardons them and explains his mission to them, as he has at the other pueblos he has visited so far.  Francisco Corvera, one of the expedition’s priests, then absolves the people, and he and the other priests baptize 103 people of all ages and both sexes.  Vargas asks the people why they abandoned their pueblos and fled to this isolated, mountainous area, and they tell him that they left out of fear of their enemies, the Tewas and Picuris, who were first to make peace with Vargas and are now his firm allies.  The people at Cieneguilla tell Vargas that when the Spanish return in force they will come back to their pueblos, and Vargas assures them that this will be soon.  The people are happy to hear this, and feed the Spanish tortillas and other food.  Vargas and his forces then depart and march back the way they came, stopping for the night at Cochiti.

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Published in: on October 21, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on October 21 (October 11, o.s.)  
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