From The Examination of Rebecca Nurse

In the following excerpt from the preliminary hearing held on March 24, 1692, the day after her arrest, Nurse is questioned by chief magistrate John Hathorne (spelled "Harthorn" here). People giving evidence against her are Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr., Ann Putnam, Sr., Edward Putnam (brother of Thomas Putnam), Thomas Putnam, and Salem villagers Henry Kenney, Mary Walcott, and Elizabeth Hubbard. The questions and answers were recorded by a court clerk (reporter), who inserted commentary about the proceedings.

Mr. Harthorn: "What do you say (speaking to one afflicted), have you seen this woman hurt?"

[Ann Putnam] "Yes, she beat me this morning."

[Harthorn] "Abigail [Williams], have you been hurt by this woman?"

afflicted: to be suffering greivous: causing severe pain or grief assembly: group of people gathering together for worship or legislation discover: save complaint: charges accuseth: accuse; to blame creditable: worthy of belief iniquity: wickedness relate: story oft: often damnation: state of being condemned vexed: distressed

Ann Putnam, in a grevious fit, cried out that she hurt her.

[Harthorn] "Goody Nurse, here are two—Ann Putnam the child and Abigail Williams—complains of your hurting them. What do you say to it?"

[Nurse] "I can say before my Eternal Father, I am innocent, and God will clear my innocency."

[Harthorn] "Here is never a one in the assembly but desires it. But if guilty you be pray God discover you."

[Court clerk] Then Hen[ry] Kenney rose to speak.

[Harthorn] "Goodman Kenney, what do you say?"

[Court clerk] Then he entered his complaint and farther said that since this Nurse came into the house he was twice seized with an amazed condition.

[Harthorn] "Here are not only these, but here is [Ann Putnam, Sr.] the wife of Mr. Tho[mas] Putnam who accuseth you by creditable information, and that both of tempting her to iniquity and of greatly hurting her."

[Nurse] "I am innocent and clear, and have not been able to get out of doors these 8 or 9 days."

[Harthorn] "Mr. Putnam, give in what you have to say."

[Court clerk] Then Mr. Edward Putnam gave in his relate.

[Harthorn] "Is this true, Goody Nurse?"

[Nurse] "I never afflicted a child, never in my life."

[Harthorn] "You see these accuse you. Is it true?"

[Harthorn] "Are you an innocent person, relating to this witchcraft?"

[Court clerk] Here Tho[mas] Putnam's wife cried out: Did you not bring the Black man with you? Did you not bid me tempt God and die? How oft have you eat and drunk your own damnation? What do you say to them?"

[Nurse] "Oh Lord, help me,["] and spread out her hands, and the afflicted were grievously vexed.

[Harthorn] "Do you see what a solemn condition these are in? When your hands are loose, the persons are afflicted."

[Court clerk] Then Mary Walcott (who often heretofore said she had seen her, but never could say, or did say, that she either pinched or bit her, or hurt her) and also Elis[abeth] Hubbard, under the like circumstances, both openly accused her of hurting them.

[Harthorn] "Here are these 2 grown persons now accuse you. What say you? Do not you see these two afflicted persons, and hear them accuse you?"

[Nurse] "The Lord knows. I have not hurt them. I am an innocent person."

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