Post your interpretation of this week's readings.
For this week’s assignment, write a total of 4 full length pages that address each of the works assigned, as well as each of the questions below:
1. Please discuss how Winthrop's statement that his community is to serve as a "city upon a hill" fits with Puritan ideology.
2. Please discuss your views of the withcraft essays you read. Why do you think people were convinced that certain individuals were witches? Did the current role of women come into play with these historical episodes?
3. Describe Anne Hutchinson's trial. Though she was put on trial before the witchcraft trials, do you think we can learn anything about the people who persecuted during the trials from Hutchinson's ordeal?
4. Discuss Mary Rowladnson's narrative. What do feel about Mary and her story? There were many captivity narratives in this era, but her story has become a classic; why do you think this is?
5. Discuss 3 moments within this narrative that show Mary being changed into commiserating with her American Indian captives.
6. Do you think by the end of her narrative Mary wishes to go home? Could you argue that she had more freedom in her present community?
7. Why does Mary weep at the end of the text when she returns home?
© 2013 The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History www.gilderlehrman.org
John Winthrop’s “City upon a Hill,” 1630
Now the onely way to avoyde this shipwracke, and to provide for our posterity, is to followe the counsell of Micah, to doe justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, wee must be knitt together, in this worke, as one man. Wee must entertaine each other in brotherly affection. Wee must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of other’s necessities. Wee must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekeness, gentlenes, patience and liberality. Wee must delight in eache other; make other’s conditions our oune; rejoice together, mourne together, labour and suffer together, allwayes haueving before our eyes our commission and community in the worke, as members of the same body. Soe shall wee keepe the unitie of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as his oune people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our wayes. Soe that wee shall see much more of his wisdome, power, goodness and truthe, than formerly wee have been acquainted with. Wee shall finde that the God of Israell is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when hee shall make us a prayse and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it like that of New England.” For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty upon a hill. The eies of all people are upon us. Soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our God in this worke wee have undertaken, and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. Wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. Wee shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into curses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whither wee are a goeing. I shall shutt upp this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithfull servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israell, Deut. 30. Beloved there is now sett before us life and good, Death and evill, in that wee are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walke in his wayes and to keepe his Commandements and his Ordinance and his lawes, and the articles of our Covenant with him, that wee may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may blesse us in the land whither wee goe to possesse it. But if our heartes shall turne away, soe that wee will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worshipp and serve other Gods, our pleasure and proffitts, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, wee shall surely perishe out of the good land whither wee passe over this vast sea to possesse it; Therefore let us choose life that wee, and our seede may live, by obeyeing His voyce and cleaveing to Him, for Hee is our life and our prosperity.
Anne Hutchinson: Trial Excerpt (1637) The Puritan community that dominated the Massachusetts Bay Colony was disrupted by two notable dissenters. In 1636, Roger Williams was banished due to his outspoken belief in the separation of church and state. His declaration that “forced religion stinks in God’s nostrils” challenged the Puritan theocratic society which had no room for alternative spiritual thought. Upon leaving Boston, Williams founded Providence. Within time, Rhode Island became recognized as a haven for religious tolerance (as did Quaker-dominated Pennsylvania later).
Another Puritan, Anne Hutchinson, also threatened Puritan orthodoxy. She held religious discussions in her home, publicly condemned some of Boston’s most famous clergymen as deficient, and claimed that she received direct revelation from God. When the charges against her were on the verge of being dismissed, she suddenly blurted that God had informed her that her enemies would be destroyed. Within the Puritan framework, this was blasphemy because it contradicted the belief that God spoke only through the Bible. Hutchinson was also charged with heresy and, when she tried to recant, further accused of lying. She joined Williams in Rhode Island and later moved to the Dutch colony of New Netherland (New York).
In 1643, Hutchinson and several of her children were killed in an attack by local Indians who presented themselves in a friendly manner, then suddenly turned on their unsuspecting victims (the attack was part of a series of incidents known as Kieft’s War). The Puritans interpreted the incident as punishment from God levied upon Hutchinson. The following excerpt is from her trial at Newton in 1637.
Gov. John Winthrop: Mrs. Hutchinson, you are called here as one of those that have troubled the peace of the commonwealth and the churches here; you are known to be a woman that hath had a great share in the promoting and divulging of those opinions that are causes of this trouble, and…you have spoken divers things, as we have been informed, very prejudicial to the honour of the churches and ministers thereof, and you have maintained a meeting and an assembly in your house that hath been condemned by the general assembly as a thing not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God nor fitting for your sex, and notwithstanding that was cried down you have continued the same, therefore we have thought good to send for you to understand how things are, that if you be in an erroneous way we may reduce you that so you may become a profitable member here among us, otherwise if you be obstinate in your course that then the court may take such course that you may trouble us no further, therefore I would intreat you to express whether you do not hold and assent in practice to those opinions and factions that have been handled in court already, that is to say, whether you do not justify Mr. Wheelwright's sermon and the petition.
Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: I am called here to answer before you but I hear no things laid to my charge. Gov. John Winthrop: I have told you some already and more I can tell you….Why do you keep such a meeting at your house as you do every week upon a set day? Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: It is lawful for me so to do, as it is all your practices and can you find a warrant for yourself and condemn me for the same thing? The ground of my taking it up was, when I first came to this land because I did not go to such meetings as those were, it was presently reported that I did not allow of such meetings but held them unlawful and therefore in that regard they said I was proud and did despise all ordinances, upon that a friend came unto me and told me of it and I to prevent such aspersions took it up, but it was in practice before I came. Therefore I was not the first. Gov. John Winthrop: …I will say that there was no meeting of women alone, but your meeting is of another sort for there are sometimes men among you. Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: There was never any man with us. Gov. John Winthrop: Well, admit there was no man at your meeting and that you was sorry for it, there is no warrant for your doings, and by what warrant do you continue such a course? Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: I conceive there lies a clear rule in Titus that the elder women should instruct the younger [Titus 2:3-5] and then I must have a time wherein I must do it….
If you please to give me leave I shall give you the ground of what I know to be true. Being much troubled to see the falseness of the constitution of the Church of England, I had like to have turned separatist. Whereupon I kept a day of solemn humiliation and pondering of the thing; this scripture was brought unto me―he that denies Jesus Christ to be come in the flesh is antichrist. This I considered of and in considering found that the papists did not deny him to be come in the flesh nor we did not deny him―who then was antichrist?…The Lord knows that I could not open scripture; he must by his prophetical office open it unto me….I bless the Lord, he hath let me see which was the clear ministry and which the wrong.
Since that time I confess I have been more choice and he hath let me to distinguish between the voice of my beloved and the voice of Moses, the voice of John Baptist and the voice of antichrist, for all those voices are spoken of in scripture. Now if you do condemn me for speaking what in my conscience I know to be truth I must commit myself unto the Lord.
Mr. Nowell (assistant to the Court): How do you know that that was the spirit? Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: How did Abraham know that it was God that bid him offer his son, being a breach of the sixth commandment? Dep. Gov. Thomas Dudley: By an immediate voice. Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: So to me by an immediate revelation. Dep. Gov. Thomas Dudley: How! an immediate revelation. Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: By the voice of his own spirit to my soul. I will give you another scripture, Jeremiah 46: 27-28―out of which the Lord showed me what he would do for me and the rest of his servants. But after he was pleased to reveal himself to me….
Therefore I desire you to look to it, for you see this scripture fulfilled this day and therefore I desire you that as you tender the Lord and the church and commonwealth to consider and look what you do.
You have power over my body but the Lord Jesus hath power over my body and soul, and assure yourselves thus much, you do as much as in you lies to put the Lord Jesus Christ from you, and if you go on in this course you begin you will I bring a curse upon you and your posterity, and the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it…. Gov. John Winthrop: I am persuaded that the revelation she brings forth is delusion….
The court hath already declared themselves satisfied concerning the things you hear, and concerning the troublesomeness of her spirit and the danger of her course amongst us, which is not to be suffered. Therefore if it be the mind of the court that Mrs. Hutchinson for these things that appear before us is unfit for our society, and if it be the mind of the court that she shall be banished out of our liberties and imprisoned till she be sent away, let them hold up their hands….
Mrs. Hutchinson, the sentence of the court you hear is that you are banished from out of our jurisdiction as being a woman not fit for our society, and are to be imprisoned till the court shall send you away. Mrs. Anne Hutchinson: I desire to know wherefore I am banished? Gov. John Winthrop: Say no more, the court knows wherefore and is satisfied.
What place did the Puritans hold within the Anglican Church? How were they
different from Separatist groups such as the Pilgrims?
What factor made Anne Hutchinson’s trial―as a religious dissenter―so ironic within the Puritan community?
What portions of this transcript reveal Anne Hutchinson’s religious zeal? Why did Governor John Winthrop and other members of the Court consider her
passion so dangerous?
At the close of her trial, Anne Hutchinson asks why she is being banished.
What does her question suggest about her attitude toward the Court?
Anne Hutchinson was charged with blasphemy and heresy against the Puritan
order. Explain the difference between the two accusations.
Cotton Mather’s account of the Salem witch trials, 1693
Cotton Mather, a prolific author and well-known preacher, wrote this account in 1693, a year after the trials ended. Mather and his fellow New Englanders believed that God directly intervened in the establishment of the colonies and that the New World was formerly the Devil’s territory. Cotton Mather’s account of the witch trials reinforced colonial New Englanders’ view of themselves as a chosen generation of men.
The Salem witch scare had complex social roots beyond the community’s religious convictions. It drew upon preexisting rivalries and disputes within the rapidly growing Massachusetts port town: between urban and rural residents; between wealthier commercial merchants and subsistence-oriented farmers; between Congregationalists and other religious denominations—Anglicans, Baptists, and Quakers; and between American Indians and Englishmen on the frontier. The witch trials offer a window into the anxieties and social tensions that accompanied New England’s increasing integration into the Atlantic economy.
A transcribed excerpt is available.
Wherefore The devil is now making one Attempt more upon us; an Attempt more Difficult, more Surprizing, more snarl’d with unintelligible Circumstances than any that we have hitherto Encountered; an Attempt so Critical, that if we get well through, we shall soon Enjoy Halcyon Days, with all the Vultures of Hell Trodden under our Feet. He has wanted his Incarnate Legions to Persecute us, as the People of God have in the other Hemisphere been Persecuted: he has therefore drawn forth his more spiritual ones to make an attacque upon us. We have been advised by some Credible Christians yet alive, that a Malefactor, accused of Witchcraft as well as Murder, and Executed in this place more than Forty Years ago, did then give Notice of, An Horrible PLOT & against the Country by WITCHCRAFT, and a Foundation of WITCHCRAFT then laid, which if it were not seasonably discovered, would probably Blow up, and pull down all the Churches in the Country. And we have now with Horror seen the Discovery of such a WITCHCRAFT!
The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674-1729
Selected excerpts from Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. 5, Series 5, 1878, pages 358 – 464.
April 11th 1692. Went to Salem, where, in the Meeting-house, the persons accused of Witchcraft were examined; was a very great Assembly; ëtwas awfull to see how the afflicted persons were agitated. Mr. Noyes prayíd at the beginning, and Mr. Higginson concluded. [In the margin], VÊ, VÊ, VÊ, Witchcraft.
May 24th 1692. First general Council, Saltonstall, Major Gedny, Walley, Hutchinson, Lothrop, Alcot, Sewall took their Oaths together, presently after Major Appleton took his. Justices of the Peace were nominated for the Province.
July 20th 1692. Fast at the house of Capt. Alden, upon his account. Mr. Willard prayíd. I read a Sermon out of Dr. Preston, 1st and 2d Uses of Godís Alsufficiency. Capt. Scottow prayíd, Mr. Allen came in and prayíd, Mr. Cotton Mather, then Capt. Hill. Sung the first part 103.Ps., concluded about 5. aclock. Brave Shower of Rain while Capt. Scottow was praying, after much Drought. Cous. Daniel Gookin sups with us, and bespeaks my marrying of him tomorrow.
July 30, 1692. Mrs. Cary makes her escape out of Cambridge ñPrison, who was Committed for Witchcraft.
Augt. 19th 1692. This day the Liet. Governour, Major Phillips, Mr. Russel, Capt. Lynde and my self went to Watertown. Advisíd the Inhabitants at their Town-Meeting to settle a Minister; and if could not otherwise agree, should first have a Town-Meeting to decide where the Meetinghouse should be set. Many say Whitneyís Hill would be a convenient place.
This day [in the margin, Dolefull! Witchcraft] George Burrough, John Willard, Jno Procter, Martha Carrier and George Jacobs were executed at Salem, a very great number of Spectators being present. Mr. Cotton Mather was there, Mr. Sims, Hale, Noyes, Chiever, &c. All of them said they were innocent, Carrier and all. Mr. Mather says they all died by a Righteous Sentence. Mr. Burrough by his Speech, Prayer, protestation of his Innocence, did much move unthinking persons, which occasions their speaking hardly concerning his being executed.
Augt. 25. Fast at the old [First] Church, respecting the Witchcraft, Drought, &c.
Monday, Sept. 19, 1692. About noon, at Salem, Giles Corey was pressíd to death for standing Mute; much pains was used with him two days, one after another, by the Court and Capt. Gardner of Nantucket who had been of his acquaintance: but all in vain.
Sept. 20. Now I hear from Salem that about 18 years agoe, he was suspected to have stampd and pressíd a man to death, but was cleared. Twas not remembered till Anne Putnam was told of it by said Coreyís Spectre the Sabbath-day night before the Execution.
Sept. 21. A petition is sent to Town in behalf of Dorcas Hoar, who now confesses: Accordingly an order is sent to the Sheriff to forbear her Execution, notwithstanding her being in the Warrant to die to morrow. This is the first condemned person who has confessíd.
Thorsday, Sept. 22, 1692. William Stoughton, Esqr., John Hathorne, Esqr., Mr. Cotton Mather, and Capt. John Higginson, with my Brother St., were at our house, speaking about publishing some Trials of the Witches. Mr. Stoughton went away and left us, it began to rain and was very dark, so that getting some way beyond the fortification, was fain to come back again, and lodgd here in Capt. Henchmanís Room. Has been a plentiful Rain, blessed be God. Mr. Stoughton went away early in the morn so that I saw him not. Read the 1 Jno 1. before went to bed.
Oct. 11, 1692. Went to the Funeral of Mrs. Sarah Oliver, widow, aged 72. years; buried in the new burying place; a very good, modest, humble, plain, liberal Matron. Bearers, Sam. Sewall, Major Jno Walley, Capt. Joshua Scottow, Capt. James Hill, Capt. Jacob Eliot, Capt. Theophilus Frary. Scarvs and Gloves.
Read Mr. Willardís Epistle to Mr. Matherís book, as to Cases of Conscience touching Witchcraft.
Satterday, Oct. 15th Went to Cambridge and visited Mr. Danforth, and discoursed with Him about the Witchcraft; thinks there cannot be a procedure in the Court except there be some better consent of Ministers and People. Told me of the womanís coming into his house last Sabbath-day sennight at Even.
Oct. 26, 1692. A Bill is sent in about calling a Fast, and Convocation of Ministers, that may be led in the right way as to the Witchcrafts. The season and manner of doing it, us such, that the Court of Oyer and Terminer count themselves thereby dismissed. 29 Nos, and 33 yeas to the Bill. Capt. Bradstreet and Lieut. True, Wm Huchins and several other interested persons there, in the affirmative.
Nov. 22, 1692. I prayd that God would pardon all my Sinfull Wanderings, and direct me for the future. That God would bless the Assembly in their debates, and that would chse and assist our Judges, &c., and save New England as to Enemies and Witchcrafts, and vindicate the late Judges, consisting with his Justice and Holiness, &c., with Fasting. Cousin Anne Quinsy visited me in the Evening, and told me of her childrenís wellfare. Now about, Mercy Short grows ill again, as formerly.
Monday, June 12, 1693. I visit Capt. Alden and his wife, and tell them I was sorry for their Sorrow and Temptations by reason of his Imprisonment, and that was glad of his Restauration.
Fourth-day Augt 12, 1696. Mr. Melyen, upon a slight occasion, spoke to me very smartly about the Salem Witchcraft: in discourse he said, if a man should take Beacon hill on ës back, carry it away; and then bring it and set it in its place again, he should not make any thing of that.
7r 16. Keep a day of Prayer in the East end of the Town-House, Govr, Council and Assembly. Mr. Morton begun with Prayer, Mr. Allin prayíd, Mr. Willard preachedóIf God be with us who can be against us?óSpake smartly at last about the Salem Witchcrafts, and that no order had been sufferíd to come forth by Authority to ask Gods pardon.
Copy of the Bill I put up on the Fast day; giving it to Mr. Willard as he passíd by, and standing up at the reading of it, and bowing when finished; in the Afternoon.
Samuel Sewall, sensible of the reiterated strokes of God upon himself and family; and being sensible, that as to the Guilt contracted, upon the opening of the late Commission of Oyer and Terminer at Salem (to which the order for this Day relates) he is, upon many accounts, more concerned than any that he knows of, Desires to take the Blame and Shame of it, Asking pardon of Men, And especially desiring prayers that God, who has an Unlimited Authority, would pardon that sin and all other his sins; personal and Relative: And according to his infinite Benignity, and Soveraignty, Not Visit the Sin of him, or of any other, upon himself or any of his, nor upon the Land: But that He would powerfully defend him against all Temptations to Sin, for the future; and vouchsafe him the efficacious, saving Conduct of his Word and Spirit.
Sixth-day, Novr 19. Mr. Higginson coms as far as Brothers to see me; which I wonderíd at. Mr Hale and I lodged together: He discoursíd me about writing a History of the Witchcraft; I fear lest he go into the other exream. Came home with the Majr General, diníd at Madam Paiges; there found Hancock, Allen, and Sam. Haugh. Found all well, Laus Deo. At Col. Paiges was told of the Death of Mrs. Thatcher. When came home, Mr. Cooke told me of the death of Mr. Hooker of Farmington.
May, 3. I went not to court in the morning because of my Letters. Dr. Mather sends me Mr. Daniel Nealís History of New-England: It grievs me to see New Englandís Nakedness laid open in the business of the Quakers, Anabaptists, Witchcraft. The Judges Names are mentioned, p. 502. My Confession, p.536. Vol. 2. The Good and Gracious God to be pleased to save New-England, and me and my family!
ALSO READ THE LINK ON MOODLE ON ANNE HUTCHINSON’S TRIAL
Background on Hutchinson:
Smart, outspoken and opinionated, Anne Hutchinson was the daughter of an English minister, well versed in the Bible and devoted to the teaching of the popular preacher John Cotton. In 1634, Anne and her family arrived in Boston, where her husband built a house directly across the street from the renowned and respected three-time governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop .
Trained as a midwife and nurse, Hutchinson began to hold small meetings in her home to discuss John Cotton's sermons. Soon the meetings were attracting up to 60 people — men and women. For a woman to engage theological discussions posed a subtle challenge to the patriarchy that governed the Bay Colony. From across the street, John Winthrop characterized Hutchinson as "a woman of haughty and fierce carriage, of a nimble wit and active spirit, and a very voluble tongue, more bold than a man."
Hutchinson gave Winthrop ample reason to worry. In the fall of 1636, she accused Puritan ministers of making salvation dependent on an individual's good works rather than on divine grace, which was contrary to Puritan teaching. The ministers denied this charge, arguing that good works are evidence of conversion and salvation, not the grounds of salvation. They argued that they were therefore not teaching a Covenant of Works.
Hutchinson persisted, arguing that assurance of salvation came from a mystical experience of grace — "an inward conviction of the coming of the Spirit." She believed that by teaching that good works were evidence of true conversion and salvation, ministers were still preaching a Covenant of Works rather than a Covenant of Grace.
Hutchinson went further, claiming that God had communicated to her by direct revelations and declaring that she was capable of interpreting the Scriptures on her own.
Hutchinson's charges constituted a frontal attack on the spiritual authority of both the church and society. For Puritans, the ultimate source of authority was the Bible as it was interpreted by duly authorized ministers. Hutchinson's claim that she possessed the authority to interpret the Bible challenged this basic principle. Even more galling was her claim that she received immediate revelations from God. Her challenge to official doctrine threatened to tear the Massachusetts Bay Colony apart.
In November 1637, Hutchinson was brought before the General Court, the colony's principal governing body, on charges of sedition. Winthrop questioned her closely, but she eluded his grasp. The court adjourned.
The following day Hutchinson changed her position. She freely acknowledged that God spoke to her directly. This claim constituted blasphemy. Now the court had grounds to punish her. The assembly voted and handed down its judgment: banishment.
Anne and her husband, William, found refuge in Roger Williams' colony in Providence, R.I. Hutchinson's experience speaks to a persistent question: What is the source of religious authority? Is it the individual or the community? Who decides? How much dissent can a religious community tolerate? What are the limits, if any?
In 1692 in Salem Village, Massachusetts several girls started to behave strangely.
The Accused Details
The Accusers Age
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