Greater Salem, the province of Governors Conant and Endicott, is visited by thousands of sojourners yearly. They come to study the Quakers and the witches, to picture the manses of the latter and the stately mansions of Salem’s commercial kings, and breathe the salubrious air of “old gray ocean.” The witchcraft “delusion” is generally the first topic of inquiry, and the earnest desire of those people with notebook in hand to aid the memory in chronicling answers, suggested this monograph and urged its publication. There is another cogent reason: the popular knowledge is circumscribed and even that needs correcting. This short history meets that earnest desire; it gives the origin, growth, and death of the hideous monster; it gives dates, courts, and names of places, jurors, witnesses, and those hanged; it names and explains certain “men and things” that are concomitant to the trials, with which the reader may not be conversant and which are necessary to the proper setting of the trials in one’s mind; it compasses the salient features of witchcraft history, so that the story of the 1692 “delusion” may be garnered and entertainingly rehearsed. The trials were all spread upon the records, word for word. Rev. Samuel Parris, stenographer to the court, says they were “taken down in my characters written at the time,” barring, of course, 4the evidence by affidavits, which were written, signed, and attested, and filed in the Clerk of Court’s office, where they may now be seen.
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