In these excerpts from Cotton Mather's The Wonders
of the Invisible World, 1693, he presents his understanding and explanation
of the events of Salem's witchcraft episode.
Excerpts from Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi
Americana (Boston, 1702).
“Preface to the Christian Reader”
from Rev. John Hale’s A Modest Inquiry IntoThe Nature Of Witchcraft,
1702. “Among Satans Mysteries of iniquity, this of Witchcraft is
one of the most difficult to be searched out by the Sons of men….”
From Chapter 1 of A Modest Enquiry, Into
The Nature Of Witchcraft by John Hale. “Had the Devils liberty
to reveal all that they know of the affairs of mankind, or to do all that
is in their power to perform, they would bring dreadful confusions and desolations
upon the World.”
Excerpt from Charles W. Upham’s Salem
Witchcraft (1867). Upham comments on the “afflicted children,”
the principal actors in the Salem tragedy.
Title Page of Cotton Mather's The Wonders of the Invisible World Cotton Mather's defense of the Salem Witchcraft Trials portrayed those involved as caught in a battle between the forces of good and evil in the New World.
Title Page, Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana, 1702. London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, at the Bible and three crowns in Cheapside, 1702.
"The Great Works of Christ in America"óMather's history of colonial Massachussetts is a major work of early New England history through the Puritan imagination. In the General Introduction Mather states: "I WRITE the WONDERS of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION, flying from the depravations of Europe, to the American Strand; and, assisted by the Holy Author of that Religion, I do with all conscience of Truth, required therein by Him, who is the Truth itself, report the wonderful displays of His infinite Power, Wisdom, Goodness, and Faithfulness, wherewith His Divine Providenee hath irradiated an Indian Wilderness." (courtesy of The Boston Public Library.)
A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft, 1697, by John Hale. Title Page of Rev. John Hale's brief history of the Salem Witchcraft trials, A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft, 1697. Hale was the Pastor of the Church in Beverly, Massachusetts until 1700 and an ardent supporter of the witch hunts of 1692. His opinion changed, however, when his second wife, Sarah (Noyes), was accused. (courtesy of The Beverly Historical Society)
Map of Salem Village by Sidney Perley Map from Sidney Perley's The History of Salem Massachusetts, Vol. 2, (1924). The map shows the "Salem Farms" area that is known as the Town of Danvers today. It was here that the witchcraft hysteria of 1692 actually began. (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)