How the Mathers Affected Salem
As we all know, the witch trials occuring in Salem Village are a problem for everyone. But could the famous Boston father-son duo of writers and preachers, Increase and Cotton Mather, possibly have affected Salem- and even be to blame for the widespread fear of witches?
Memorable Providences: A Cause of Fear?
The father of Cotton Mather, a writer and preacher, who is more liberal in his beliefs than his son.
The son of Increase Mather, a writer and preacher, who is more radical in his beliefs than his father.
The accuser who may have gotten ideas from Memorable Providences.
The Mather's Leadership Position
The Mathers have also actively affected the witch trials in Salem by providing law and legal advice in their letters to Salem authorities, such as when Cotton sent magistrate John Richards the letter “Return of the Several Ministers”. This letter warned against using spectral evidence in court. “Satan can make himself look like any innocent person”, he says. Cotton also reportedly prayed with the accused John Proctor for the forgiveness of Proctor’s sins, and has claimed that the late Reverend George Burroughs, the Salem reverend who many claimed to be a minister of the Devil, was guilty. Also, at this time, many people are petitioning Increase Mather (who is known to be much more liberal than his son and has tried to contradict the witch trials while supporting the ministers) to advise Reverend Parris to step down from his position in the church.