Cotton Mather and Ezekiel Cheever

The Salem Trials: Interrogation of Susannah Martin

Reprinted in Eyewitness to America in 1997 Edited by David Colbert

Cotton Mather, a Boston minister and a strong supporter of witch-hunts, and Ezekial Cheever, a court clerk, wrote an account of the Salem trials of 1692-93. The following excerpt shows a typical exchange, in this case between a magistrate (judge; here unnamed) and an accused witch, Susannah Martin. Mather and Cheever supposedly provided a "report" on the Salem trials, yet Mather in particular was later faulted for fueling the witch-hunt mania. The account of the interrogation of Martin is an example of how Mather and Cheever presented events from a biased point of view.

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