Primary Source #3 From: The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674-1729 (Selected excerpts from Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 5, Series 5, 1878, pages 358 - 464.) April 11th 1692. Went to Salem, where, in the Meeting-house, the persons accused of Witchcraft were examined; was a very great Assembly; ëtwas awfull to see how the afflicted persons were agitated. Mr. Noyes prayíd at the beginning, and Mr. Higginson concluded. [In the margin], VÊ, VÊ, VÊ, Witchcraft. … July 30, 1692. Mrs. Cary makes her escape out of Cambridge ñPrison, who was Committed for Witchcraft. … Augt. 19th 1692. … This day [in the margin, Dolefull! Witchcraft] George Burrough, John Willard, Jno Procter, Martha Carrier and George Jacobs were executed at Salem, a very great number of Spectators being present. Mr. Cotton Mather was there, Mr. Sims, Hale, Noyes, Chiever, &c. All of them said they were innocent, Carrier and all. Mr. Mather says they all died by a Righteous Sentence. Mr. Burrough by his Speech, Prayer, protestation of his Innocence, did much move unthinking persons, which occasions their speaking hardly concerning his being executed. Augt. 25. Fast at the old [First] Church, respecting the Witchcraft, Drought, &c. Monday, Sept. 19, 1692. About noon, at Salem, Giles Corey was pressíd to death for standing Mute; much pains was used with him two days, one after another, by the Court and Capt. Gardner of Nantucket who had been of his acquaintance: but all in vain. Sept. 20. Now I hear from Salem that about 18 years agoe, he was suspected to have stampd and pressíd a man to death, but was cleared. Twas not remembered till Anne Putnam was told of it by said Coreyís Spectre the Sabbath-day night before the Execution. Sept. 21. A petition is sent to Town in behalf of Dorcas Hoar, who now confesses: Accordingly an order is sent to the Sheriff to forbear her Execution, notwithstanding her being in the Warrant to die to morrow. This is the first condemned person who has confessíd. … Oct. 11, 1692. Went to the Funeral of Mrs. Sarah Oliver, widow, aged 72. years; buried in the new burying place; a very good, modest, humble, plain, liberal Matron. Bearers, Sam. Sewall, Major Jno Walley, Capt. Joshua Scottow, Capt. James Hill, Capt. Jacob Eliot, Capt. Theophilus Frary. Scarvs and Gloves. Read Mr. Willardís Epistle to Mr. Matherís book, as to Cases of Conscience touching Witchcraft. Satterday, Oct. 15th Went to Cambridge and visited Mr. Danforth, and discoursed with Him about the Witchcraft; thinks there cannot be a procedure in the Court except there be some better consent of Ministers and People. Told me of the womanís coming into his house last Sabbath-day sennight at Even. … Nov. 22, 1692. I prayd that God would pardon all my Sinfull Wanderings, and direct me for the future. That God would bless the Assembly in their debates, and that would chse and assist our Judges, &c., and save New England as to Enemies and Witchcrafts, and vindicate the late Judges, consisting with his Justice and Holiness, &c., with Fasting. Cousin Anne Quinsy visited me in the Evening, and told me of her childrenís wellfare. Now about, Mercy Short grows ill again, as formerly. Monday, June 12, 1693. I visit Capt. Alden and his wife, and tell them I was sorry for their Sorrow and Temptations by reason of his Imprisonment, and that was glad of his Restauration. Fourth-day Augt 12, 1696. Mr. Melyen, upon a slight occasion, spoke to me very smartly about the Salem Witchcraft: in discourse he said, if a man should take Beacon hill on ës back, carry it away; and then bring it and set it in its place again, he should not make any thing of that.
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