ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Between the examinations and the hangings, it was easy to see the witch trials as a battle fought inside the courtroom. But outside, word was spreading about the injustice of it all, and so the fight was taken to a brand new arena—one that would do far more to change minds than any hanging or spectral testimony.
English
United States

TRANSCRIPT

00:00:09when Governor William fits a ride in Boston Harbor on September 29th he discovered a fire not a real fire mind you but a metaphorical one that threatened to burn his colony to the ground on the less yes he knew that there had been Sparks and yes he knew that there was plenty of kindling but somehow I doubt he expected it to burn is hot and deadly as a
00:00:35he left Massachusetts in early August for a trip up the coast to visit the Maine Frontier he was gone until September 2nd when he returned to take a few meetings in Boston before heading up again on September 28th for another 11 days then I know what you're thinking with Salem and the surrounding area consumed with accusations of Witchcraft accusations that were maturing into convictions and executions what in the world could have been more important
00:01:07specifically his land remember before be knighted by the king of England for his treasure hunting Expedition and before moving to Boston to rub shoulders with the wealthy merchants and then a shipbuilder from Maine so well every single person in the colony had a bit of skin in the game when it came to the conflict with the Native Americans and their French allies to the north all of those battles for personal for Phipps
00:01:34during part of his trip he was up in pemaquid near modern-day Bristol Maine to oversee a huge shipment of masts to be sent back to England for the Royal Navy's shipwrights but he used his time there to set his militia forces loose on the local Native Americans in retaliation for their recent raids on Colonial and he also oversaw the construction of Fort William Henry military base with stone walls measuring 29 ft high and 6 ft thick with 28 gun ports facing the Atlantic Ocean it was something that could have easily been built without his supervision but it just happened to be located near his old home village where friends and relatives still struggle to keep a foothold in hostile territory
00:02:19that's always wanting to chase after self-interest was using his position as leader of the colony to secure his own property and increase his own fortunes back in Boston know he discovered a world that had gotten out of hand endless examinations and ongoing oyer and terminer trial and more than a dozen executions and as that storm continue to swirl and capture debris a pattern was forming
00:02:48by connecting the dots most people could predict who would be accused of Witchcraft and who wouldn't if you had a relative of accused of being a witch either contemporary or in the past you were a good candidate for accusations if you had been in contact with the French and Native Americans you were even more of a Target and if you defended someone who was already accused you were likely to draw the spotlight on yourself
00:03:16someone fits return home it was to a personal emergency word had begun to spread about a woman who had ties to a former accused witch who kept a Native American slave in her house and who helped at least one already jailed which escape to Freedom under most circumstances that would have meant that a warrant would be quickly drawn up and the woman would be arrested but that's where it got tricky because this new suspect hit a bit too close to home literally and figuratively 4/5 own good
00:03:50the suspect is he
00:03:53was his own wife
00:03:56this is unobscured I'm Aaron Mahnke
00:04:32family troubles weren't the only challenges that fix was facing if that's one of the main reasons he might have been spending so much time away from Boston in the early days of his governorship is because the work was just too difficult and it wasn't entirely his fault
00:04:48remember the Massachusetts Bay Colony had their original charter taken away from them by the new English king and the decades that they had relied on that Charter a whole catalog of the Homegrown laws had sprung up around it that were mostly unique to the Colony but when the crown issued a new Charter it came with specific instructions to set up a brand new framework that align with English lot
00:05:14I imagine that was fine for a lot of topics but Phillips had a particular Rock in his shoe from the start the Witchcraft Trials in Salem because they were touching on something very sensitive and at first blush incredibly boring forfeiture of property so buckle up we're about to get legal for it no boy
00:05:37under English law if you were convicted of a felony say witchcraft for example the consequences had roots in the old feudal system of land ownership your land and other personal property would be taken away and given to the crown who could then keep it for themselves or redistributed it to others in Massachusetts in the Years leading up to the beginning of the Witchcraft Trials though that practice had gone away
00:06:04until the new Charter that is because if it's was going to realign the colonies laws with crowns laws that meant bringing back forfeiture as you can imagine some people were opposed the best namely the people who stood to have their property taken away and those who supported it well they were the ones who were about to benefit from it let me give you a couple of examples
00:06:28Sheriff George Corwin was the man presiding over the executions transporting the convicted witches to The Gallows and carrying out their sentences but he was more than a hangman he was an officer of a crown with a full authority of the government behind him and apparently he was a bit greedy
00:06:47the day after Giles Corey was pressed to death it was George Corwin who went to the Quarry household and seized his property now some people look at the seizure as a way to earn back the money it cost to house and feed Giles and Martha in jail for all those months it certainly makes sense with George Corwin did other things that cast doubt on that theory example he and his deputies rode out to the forms of John and Elizabeth Proctor the ward Wells and the Jacobs family at each stop he confiscated their goods and property and carted it off even did this to the sizable estate of Mary and Philip English one of the richest couples in The Colony
00:07:28at the Proctors Tavern Corwin was ruthless they hadn't even been convicted yet before he arrived to take everything away he took their cattle selling some at a discount to make a quick sale while butchering the rest he dumped out there beer and soup supplies and carted off with the pots and barrels he took everything it didn't matter that John and Elizabeth's young children still live there as Robert Calef Road they were left to the mercy of the wilderness
00:07:59there's also evidence that sheriff Corwin took money in exchange for leaving property alone if you recall Bridget Bishop was the first person to be formally executed and her stepson Edward along with his wife Sarah we're also in jail when Corwin Road out to their Tavern in Salem town and began to load up his cart with everything he could find Edward son Samuel showed up and offered to pay the share of 10 lbs to leave it all behind it was the equivalent of thousands of dollars in modern American currency and Sheriff Corwin should probably had handed it over to the crown and walked away and said you wrote Samuel a receipt that Simply Red a valuable sum of money if that wasn't the perfect setup for embezzlement I'm not sure what is
00:08:47the seizure of property didn't happen all the time now and that's because of how property laws worked in English lot men could own property as good single women but once a woman married a man all of her assets became his property not hers many of the women who were accused and convicted never experienced the loss of their property because it didn't legally belong to them but there were a number of them that did here is Jane Kaminski professor of history at Harvard University another scholar Carol Carlson at University of Michigan found that a significant number of suspects in New England witchcraft cases were women who had unusually direct lines to property holding either because they didn't have living husbands or they didn't have sons or they didn't have brothers some unusually direct relationship to property and land
00:09:43when we do see it it's because the husband was also convicted or the woman was a widow Who took possession of her husband's assets after he passed away and Sheriff Corwin new these rules all too well after George Jacobs had been arrested Corwin paid his wife a visit and took her wedding ring which by English law belong to George and not her
00:10:07this is a lot of legal stuff I know but it was an attack on the foundation of society inside the colony there these people were second or third generation settlers was ancestors had brought everything with them and then handed it down to support the Next Generation in the new world that's why the colony did away with the forfeiture laws in the first place now though that was all changing
00:10:32and this was the mess that fix discovered when he returned from main people were having their land and property ripped out of their hands seemingly left and right in the community was beginning to rumble with this content and so word was spreading about it
00:10:48so if it's did something to stop at all no not the seizure of property but the spreading of the news he declared an embargo on the public writing about the trials in their entirety prohibiting anyone from publishing news or information about what was happening that's the rough spoken gold digger who preferred Victory laps to actually doing work declare the press to be illegitimate and shut it down but as everyone knows you can't stop the signal
00:11:23local news is a lot like water you can seal your house but it's still going to find a way inside of Anjali steps might have placed a ban on writing about the events in Salem but that didn't mean it was going to work and ironically what are the biggest works on the Witchcraft Trials was being written at that very moment by his good friend Cotton Mather
00:11:45months earlier in June of 1692 a bunch of the local clergy had gathered together to write a document that was meant to urge Stoughton Hawthorne and the other magistrates to exercise caution in the coming trials that used Christian scripture to build her case and then gave the actual writing over the Cotton Mather because he was the popular favorite when it was completed the title of the work the return of several ministers
00:12:11Stoughton Miss read it though where the collection of ministers meant to offer the theology behind their warnings stones sophiology that backed up his own agenda and of course it didn't help the Cotton Mather was a bit of a people pleaser so it was easy to misinterpret his soft flowery language
00:12:31the end result was that rather than feel scolded by The Minister's the judges all felt as if now there was on their side so as the owner and terminer trial and all of the Fallout around it began to turn into a sort of PR nightmare the judge has decided to work with Mather on writing a book in their defense
00:12:51on September 22nd just one day after the most recent group of executions had another was invited over to the home of Judge Samuel Sewall to discuss the project also in attendance were Samuel's brother Steven who worked as the clerk of the court for the trial as well as William Stoughton John Hawthorne and Senior salemtowne Minister John higginson whose son was now one of the judges
00:13:15their purpose to defend themselves from accusations of mishandling the trials they would provide mathur with all the court documents he would need to melt their defense covering the challenges faced by the courts as well as the multitude of suspects and descriptions of the supernatural evidence that they had to sit through here is historian Maryland K roach who is that they had been proceeding correctly and maybe he thinks he needs to make more excuses for how things are going so it's kind of support the view that they had preceded is Mystic Legend
00:13:54it did nothing for his reputation that rafter and it kind of ties him with that even though he did say at the beginning you shouldn't really use spectral evidence and he had an unexpected but that was a very unfortunate one although the book is a good source of what people were saying and he was at the trials in the semantic don't send it on in the existing papers by early October Cotton Mather was working furiously on the book It Again by grabbing the text from a series of sermons he had given over the summer on the topic of Supernatural and spiritual matters the most popular of them had been a sermon he called a discourse of the wonders of the invisible world so popular that he pulled the new books title right from it
00:14:42as he finished each chapter he would rush it off to the printer to be typeset not wanting to waste any time it or Woman Within the Republic sermons were the arguments in support of the judges and their trial even use quotes from actual court records words spoken by the judges and the accused a like to support his arguments of course he also skipped all the quotes that counter his points but who among the common folk would know that right it was looking back an Unapologetic work of propaganda
00:15:15is main argument was essentially this there was a military government within the forces of the devil even compare their ranks to the French Cavalry and these military like forces desire to overrun The Colony and the church not one to shy away from dramatic language now they're declared that the devil in Great Raft as made a prodigious descent on our poor New England
00:15:42his biggest piece of evidence that this conflict was taking place was the spectral evidence you know the stories of an accused witch visiting one of The Afflicted in their homes at night hovering above their beds and tormenting them visions of Martha Corey demanding that someone signed the devil's book or tails of the spectral version of a witch physically attacking an innocent victim matters argument was simple how can we even know to go looking for other pieces of evidence if we dismiss the spectral tails the supernatural stories according to Mather help them to notice the people who deserve more investigation in other words the end entirely Justified the means so please let's not attack the means however unusual and unfair they might appear
00:16:33what's interesting to note though is that for as much as Cotton Mather had essentially become the pr director for the witch trials in Salem he was out of step with the majority of clergy in Massachusetts or he was a well-respected religious leader working hard to make sure the Puritan mission was represented in the new government but on this matter he was in the minority so it shouldn't come as a surprise that he was opposed by other vocal ministers while Cotton Mather was discussing the correct way to navigate spectral evidence within the court other religious leaders were building a case to oppose him they were led by someone that cotton fought he could trust
00:17:15his father increase Mather
00:17:21we need to pause for a second then play catch up over the last 10 episodes I've told you about a lot of arrests and examinations about the evidence presented and the trials that judge them each of them are slightly different from the last and no two cases follow the same path so I want to try and illustrate something for you to convicted person on the charge of Witchcraft in Salem in 1692 just like our court system today he had to prove that the person was guilty obviously someone had to begin the process by accusing someone else and calling them which if the accusation was serious enough they would be arrested and brought in for examination and that's where things got tricky
00:18:08we can look back after 326 years and understand why the magistrates were being asked to believe Supernatural stories and take them as proof so they administered tests some of which we've covered already they might have the person's body searched for witches marks those unnatural teats used to suckle the devil's minions they might listen to the stories of The Afflicted who would describe being attacked by the person's spectral form they would also rely on something called The Touch test where the accused which would be brought into the same room as one of The Afflicted girls during one of her fits and instructed to touch her if the touch of the accused stop the seizure then they were truly a witch
00:18:55but I think you can see the problem with something like that if The Afflicted person had simply made up the stories to hurt another person they can just as easily fake the seizure and then stop when the accused person touches them and since it's all happening in a courtroom the judges would accept it as perfectly legitimate evidence after that the trial would go one of two ways either the accused which would deny all of the charges and put up a legal fight or they would cave in admit to being a witch and then name a bunch of other people in an effort to save themselves those new accused people would be arrested and the process would start all over again
00:19:37so as Cotton Mather was publishing his book of justification for that broken system his father was working on something of his own increase Mather was the man who travel to England with Sir William phips the bring back the new Charter he had the ear of a governor Decades of experience and a lot more wisdom and patience than his son cotton
00:19:59and he used all of that to craft his own book it was called cases of conscience concerning evil spirits personating men witchcraft infallible proofs of guilt in such as are accused with that crime that's a mouthful I know which is why most historians today just call it cases of conscience concerning evil spirits and the book directly attacked the court review of spectral evidence and therefore his son's support of it
00:20:28increase Mather wrote about how the touch test was flawed The Afflicted person the one having the seizure or V should be blindfolded so that the anonymous touch alone would be the test he cited an event in Andover on September 7th where a group touch test was carried out in that one they blindfolded the accused not The Afflicted it was according to him mod measure guilt
00:20:55then there was the basic notion that the court was literally accusing people of Supernatural Crimes by using Supernatural test to judge them it was hypocritical and wrong and easily manipulated by those in power according to increase Mather these tests were invented by the devil so that innocent persons might be condemned and some Notorious witches Escape
00:21:20his last attack on the views of a court was regarding confession if an accused witch nodded her head and declared yes I am in fact a witch and then named a dozen others to make herself valuable and ward off her execution the court would go and arrest all of those new people or priests mathur however pointed out how ludicrous that notion was if someone had given themselves up to the devil the legendary Father of Lies then how can we possibly trust a single word that came out of their mouth if they identify a dozen other witches why in the world should anyone believe them it was according to him it's sanity
00:22:03on October 3rd a group of ministers gathered at Harvard to read increase Mathers new book out loud increase wasn't there but his son Contin was and I can't help but imagine that it was just a little bit awkward for him
00:22:17another of The Minister's there was Samuel Willard who we heard a lot about so far Not only was he the minister of the church were Captain John Alden and Mary and Philip English attended it also increasingly become more and more opposed to the direction and methods of the trial
00:22:34as a sign of support Willard wrote an introductory essay for increase matters book all of the ministers there at Harvard that day signed their names to the essay to show their agreement all of them that is except Cotton Mather
00:22:58increase Mather wasn't alone in his descent despite the muzzle that Governor phips try to put on the Press more and more people began to speak out about the trials yes some people still believe the Witchcraft was a disease threatening to destroy the Puritan Mission but there was a growing majority who felt that the real disease was actually the trial
00:23:21some of the more outspoken voices came from wealthy Boston businessman they circulated statements and letters in an attempt to sway public opinion and chief among them was a young man named Thomas prattle a member of Samuel Willard's Third Church of Boston and part of a well-established Boston family and this guy is smart
00:23:434 years prior to the Salem Witch Trials he and judge Samuel Sewall had travelled together on a one-year tour of England they were marginal players in the process to restore the old Massachusetts colony Charter a Brattle also had a deep interest in the scientific community that was growing back in London rattle had a passionate interest in a lot of areas of science including mathematics architecture and astronomy while he in Sewell were in London he drive his friends all sorts of enlightening events and locations they attended concerts together visited the Royal Navy rope yards to see the trade in action and even went swimming in the Thames and from everything I've read Brattle would have been an avid Instagram user today the absolutely love to make detailed architectural surveys of the buildings he visited sending hours measuring them and recording accurate drawings to share with his friends back home there's even a story of rattle visiting Versailles in France on another
00:24:43and pouring over the palace there with such attention that one of the guards accused him of being a spy
00:24:51Rattle and Sewell were in London in 1689 when King William's war was declared by the crown they were there when London received word of the coup that overthrew Massachusetts governor Andres they were there as the efforts to restore their colony to its old Puritan Charter were derailed but it was also productive for Brattle by the time they sailed home in September of 1689 he had been awarded entrance to the Royal Society the most prestigious scientific community in England
00:25:22Samuel Sewall wasn't just a quiet Observer though he took things in there and allowed it to change his mind in the weeks leading up to their trip in 1689 Sewell recorded in his journal that he watched an Irish Washerwoman name goody Glover be carded passed him in Boston followed by a crowd of Marshals constables and even a judge she was on her way to be executed for witchcraft and he was intrigued by that
00:25:49rattle is important though because of what he represents remember we have his trial going on in Salem town and it's spreading like a plague to the surrounding communities it's a religious movement with a legal framework it's the moment where the rubber meets the road for a community of people who believe in the spiritual world and it seems to fly in the face of hard evidence based science showing Brattle writes his letter regarding the trials that's the worldview he brings to the table he's a scientist and a passionate Observer a verifiable evidence so he can't view the trials in the same way as someone like Cotton Mather might his letter was a plea for rationality over religion
00:26:33you started it off by stating that he had no intent to cast dirt on Authority as he put it but soon enough the text shifts into a bloodthirsty analysis of the trials he touches on many of the same ideas that Samuel Willard and increase Mather had but he does it with surgical precision and an undercurrent of science rattle didn't mince words instead he went for the jugular he blames Stoughton for allowing Justice to be perverted in the service of religion and he named The prominent individuals who are staunchly opposed to the actions of the Court including former Governor Simon Bradstreet former Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth and Nathaniel saltonstall the judge who had quit the oil and terminer out of disgust with the proceedings and he begged the court to use common sense how could The Afflicted see the specters of witches if their eyes were closed how could they not see the difference between real verifiable evidence and simple riddle
00:27:33just bias
00:27:36when Sewell read his friends letter he paid Thomas Danforth a visit was it true he asked him and Danforth confirmed it yes he told him I no longer support the court sent his forced retirement in April he had found himself with ample spare time to consider all of the strange events in Salem at felt that the process was broken if a court wanted to continue moving forward he felt they needed to consult the ministers and the people first
00:28:06Thomas Brattle though it had a less polite get more powerful way of putting it if our officers and courts have apprehended imprisoned condemned and executed are Guiltless neighbors he wrote certainly our error is great and we shall Rue it in the conclusion
00:28:26in other words if it turns out that you were wrong
00:28:30you'll have blood on your hands
00:28:34Thomas battles mission to call the colony to Common Sense was a spark it quickly ignited the Boston area in early October to things happened that just one month prior would have seemed impossible
00:28:52first some of the Afflicted girls in Andover pointed their fingers at a worthy gentleman of Boston as it's written that accused him of being a witch rather than allow himself to be arrested or even fully to New York or some other Sanctuary location This Man simply acquired a warrant to have the girls arrested for defamation with the promise of a thousand pound fine roughly $1000000 today they dropped their claims
00:29:22that same week a different Boston businessman found himself so desperate to find healing for his sick daughter that he traveled North with her to Salem this particular man had either been ignoring brattle's cry for logic and reason or had somehow missed the news so he approached The Afflicted girls of Salem and ask for help identifying the witch or witches that were tormenting his daughter
00:29:46the girls identified Two Witches but when he took their names to the judges they refuse to give him a warrant for their arrest the Boston man might have missed rattle message but the authorities in Salem certainly hadn't went increase Mather heard with this man had tried to do either rated him asking him why he preferred the devil in Salem to God and Boston
00:30:11the first two weeks of October also saw some changes and how prisoners were being held amen from Andover requested that the court release all of the accused minors into the custody of their families while they await trial he was getting colder than the jails were less and less safe to be inside the court agreed that a number of prisoners were released but it wasn't just the children here is historian Stacy Schiff will actually in the fall it's harvest season it's really important that the wife's be there to help me out can the preserves and get the house in order and I think most of most of those women are released in October of Ember
00:30:50the tide was turning Minds were changing the public perception of the Salem trials was no longer overwhelmingly in favor of pushing forward with blind passion thanks to the mounting depth tool and the epidemic of property seizures the people of Salem and the surrounding area had started to doubt they were on the right path and all of that doubt was washing up on the shore at the feet of Governor William Phipps
00:31:18on October 12th he found himself with some decisions to make partly because of the rise and resistance to the trials but also because the general court sort of the state legislature for the colony I finally gathered together to put new laws on paper the new charger needed to be implemented and that meant Fitz and The Others had some work ahead of them
00:31:41we know about what happened inside the government's in October because Phillips wrote a series of four letters back to the crown in England now keep in mind they were written by him to make himself look better but it's possible to pick through them and find the truth of the events around him here is Professor of American History Mary Beth Norton is really good at covering his butt steps is a master at not letting on that he knew all along it was going on I mean steps write this letter saying to the people in London oh my God I just got back I would fighting Indians on the frontier all summer and I came back and I found this horrible situation and I stopped it was so untrue
00:32:35for example he recorded that the property seizures had been an unauthorized decision by William Stoughton head of the court of oyer and terminer and maybe that's how he justified reinstating the Old Colony law that prevented forfeiture of property but there was more steps had a decision to make about the very foundation of the entire trial spectral evidence
00:32:59he was the person who had to make the call if he decided that spectral evidence was not valid and admissible then there was a whole list of people who had been arrested convicted and executed specifically because of that mistake if on the other hand he declared it all to be legitimate then he would have to give a reason why that a good enough reason even in late October still eluded him
00:33:24it was that stereotypical cartoon character with a tiny angel on one shoulder than a tiny devil on the other except for him it was men like Samuel Willard and Thomas Brattle Whispering caution into one ear will Cotton Mather and his few remaining supporters urged him to rush forward
00:33:45finally he and the general court proposed a temporary pause so they could Institute a fast and call for an assembly of ministers to advise them they wanted help seeking out God's preferred Road out of their current Nest would have went to a vote it barely passed with 33 and favor and 29 against the colony might have been ready for a change but the Man In Charge weren't so sure half of them were ready to continue as before but the other half were still on the fence
00:34:18all that was left now was to wait for a sign
00:34:27Governor phips seem to be doing everything possible to not make a decision if he moved too quickly he might be seen as meddling in the trial he had been largely absent from four months never mind the fact that his own wife had been accused which meant that rushing into stop things now might appear like a personal mission to save his own skin and support a witch in the process
00:34:51he and the general court got a lot of work done though they officially appointed Anthony checkley as attorney general they set up the new Justice System and Superior Court for the colony they even settled on what crimes constituted capital crimes but the Salem trials were hovering over all of them there were people in jail who are waiting for their moment before the oyer and terminer judge some had been in jail for months and they were looking for a resolution be at Freedom or death there was a new session scheduled for early November but everyone was waiting on Phipps to decide if it was going to happen at all or not
00:35:31while he was wavering back and forth Thomas Brattle and a handful of ministers paid a visit to the Salem jail to talk with prisoners there when they questioned some recently arrested women from Andover many of them retracted their claims they might have confessed to being witches and even named others in the process but all of it had been a lie to save their own lives here is Mary Beth Norton once again that was about three weeks after the last set of executions they take it back and they talk about how they were basically convinced to confess by magistrates sometimes by their own relatives who said what you may not realize you were which but you clearly were because of X and then cited some evidence to them I think that was also very meaningful and helping to convince steps that he could not maintain the trials any longer or at least the trials and the court of or your informing her that the rules had to change and its spectral evidence could not be allowed when the trial's continued
00:36:31in January under the regular courts
00:36:34in other words confession wasn't infallible here we have people who had gone along with the system confessing and pointing their fingers at others in an effort to stay alive and they were fully admitting that it was all make-believe if there was one last legitimate pillar holding up the witch trials confession was it and now it to was crumbling
00:36:58on October 28th Fitz and his counselor is gathered to discuss more business regarding the new Charter and William Stoughton eager to move forward with the trials and convict more witches Road South to Boston to demand permission to do so he rode through a torrential downpour that drove a high tide onto the road he was traveling by the time he arrived in Boston he was utterly soaked and needed a fresh change of clothes
00:37:23that's where his servant returned to Salem to retrieve that change of clothes he finally made his appearance before the governor and his Council he stood defiantly before them and demanded a decision did he have permission to continue forward this was he informed them the last time he would ask
00:37:43in an eerie echo of Giles Corey standing mute before Stoughton just weeks before Clips stared back at the judge with a great silence you can almost see the battle in there staring contest that ensued Stoughton with his murderous seal fits with his crowd of different voices screaming inside his head
00:38:04I have to imagine that was the moment that it all clicked for governor phips looking into Stoughton space Would Have Made It crystal clear that he was a man who would not let go if he was allowed to continue his trials the only thing that would come out of it would be more people in jail and more people at the end of a hangman's noose and one of those people would most certainly be tips on wife
00:38:28tell me when home that day without an answer so when the council gathered again the next day it was another of the members who brought it back up James Russell had seen firsthand what Stoughton was capable he had been in Salem on April 10th when Sarah cloyce and Elizabeth Proctor had been examined he knew it wasn't pretty
00:38:49so we asked the governor the same question everyone else had that month with a court of oyer and terminer presiding over the Witchcraft plague in Salem stand or fall
00:39:01let's look back at him with an expression that must have contained the weights of a thousand stones and then finally with a sign he replied
00:39:11It Must Fall
00:39:15that's it for this week's episode of unobscured stick around after this short sponsor break for a preview of what's in store for next week
00:39:25next time on unobscured
00:39:30finally word went out that the next trial would take place in January not another oyer and terminer like the past sessions but a new trial by the Massachusetts Superior Court it offered hope to those still waiting for a decision and praying for their release from captivity perhaps even an occasion to celebrate
00:39:49before the trial date could arrive though the governor declared December 29th to be a day of fasting and prayer Across The Colony they were urged to consider the various and awful judgments of God continued upon the English nation and the dispersions thereof in their majesties several plantations by permitting witchcraft sandyville ages to rage against his people translation
00:40:15judgment was coming so pray for mercy
00:41:14unobscured was created and written by me Aaron Mahnke and produced by Matt Frederick and Alex Williams in partnership with how stuff works with research by Carl Nellis and original music by Chad Lawson learn more about our contributing historians further reading material resource archive and links to our other shows at history unobscured. Com
00:41:37until next time thanks for listening

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