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From Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana, Boston 1702:

[Writing about the Witchcraft Outbreak and Trials in Salem, 1692]

It is to be confessed and bewailed, that many inhabitants of New-England, and young people especially, had been led away with little sorceries, wherein they "did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God;" ....

...Although these diabolical divinations are more ordinarily committed perhaps all over the whole world, than they are in the country of New-England, yet, that being a country devoted unto the worship and service of the Lord JESUS CHRIST above the rest of the world, HE signalized his vengeance against these wickednesses, with such extraordinary dispensations as have not been often seen in other places....

The devils which had been so played withal, and, it may be, by some few criminals more explicitly engaged and imployed, now broke in upon the country, after as astonishing a manner as was ever heard of. Some scores of people, first about Salem, the centre and first-born of all towns in the colony, and afterwards in several other places, were arrested with many preternatural vexations upon their bodies, and a variety of cruel torments, which were evidently inflicted from the daemons of the invisible world....

[On the trials, testimonies, and the use of spectral evidence]

On the other part, there were many persons of great judgment, piety, and experience, who from the beginning were very much dissatisfied at these proceedings; they feared lest the devil would get so far into the faith of the people, that for the sake of many truths which they might find him telling of them, they would come at length to believe all his lies; whereupon what a desolation of names-yea, and of lives also-would ensue, a man might, without much witchcraft, be able to prognosticate; and they feared, lest in such an extraordinary descent of wicked spirits from their high places upon us, there might such principles be taken up, as, when put into practice, would unavoidably cause the righteous to perish with the wicked, ....

In fine, the country was in a dreadful ferment, and wise men foresaw a long train of dismal and bloody consequences ....




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