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Salem Witchcraft: Comprising More Wonders of the Invisible World

Salem Witchcraft: Comprising More Wonders of the Invisible World (Hardcover) by Samuel Page Fowler (Author)

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Fowler, Samuel P., Editor.
Salem
Salem: H.P. Ives and A.A. Smith, 1861. xxi, [22]-446, [3], [447]-450 pp. Reprinted 2005 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-1-58477-462-4. ISBN-10: 1-58477-462-2. Cloth. $110.
 
This volume collects two important early accounts of the infamous Salem witchcraft trials based on primary sources. Published in 1693, Wonders of the Invisible World by Cotton Mather [1663-1728] is an account of selected trials written at the request of the judges, who wished to address claims of impropriety. Though he believed in witchcraft, Mather was critical of the judges' conduct when the trials were underway. After reading the transcripts, however, he concluded that the verdicts rested on ample evidence according to the standards of English and American law. Published in 1700, More Wonders of the Invisible World, Or The Wonders of the Invisible World Displayed by Robert Calef [1648-1719] attacked Mather's account. Skeptical about the existence of witchcraft, he argued for the injustice of the trials and suggested, moreover, that Mather influenced the judges and public opinion. A well-documented and devastating account, it was the first important publication to show that the trials were a miscarriage of justice.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Meanwhile, read an example of how quickly Mather’s reputation went downhill in this April 1869 article from the North American Review, called “Cotton Mather and Salem Witchcraft.”


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