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Samuel Sewall

Uploaded by thosser on May 08, 2001

Samuel Sewall born in 1652 in England. He was taken as a child to Newbury, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard in 1671. He became a minister but gave up the role to take management of a printing press in Boston and entered upon a public career. He was elected in 1683 to the general court and was a member of the council. As one of the judges who tried the Salem witchcraft cases in 1692, he shared the responsibility for the conviction of nineteen persons. However, he became convinced of the error of these convictions and in 1697 in Old South Church, Boston, publicly accepted the “blame and shame” for them. Sewall served for thirty-seven years as judge of the superior court of the colony, being chief justice during the last ten years of his service. Sewall was also a well-known author and his most famous work was his three-volume diary, which is very revealing of Samuel Sewall and the period he lived in. Sewall was a respected figure of his time and shared relations with other prominent icons of the colonial era. When Sewall entered Harvard he shared a home for two years with Edward Taylor, a famous American poet who became a lifelong friend of Sewall’s. Also in the year of the Salem witch Trials Samuel Sewall was appointed as one of nine judges by Govenor Phips, another fellow judge on this board was Cotton Mather. A famous individual of colonial times he was a minister of Boston’s Old North Church and was a true believer in witchcraft. Sewall and Mather were both puritans, authors, and shared similar views. Samuel Sewall died in Boston, Massachusetts in 1730, January 1st.

Samuel Sewall’s writing was of a traditional Puritan style. His work often concentrated on religion, politics, business life, and good living. But unlike Puritans of his time Sewall’s many writings addressed specific concerns about the rights of Native Americans and of African-Americans brought as slaves to the colonies. Sewall wrote the first Puritan anti-slaveholding tract The Selling of Joseph. The literary work that Sewall is most famous for is his Diary; it consists of a minute record of his daily life, reflecting his interest in living piously and well. He notes little purchases of sweets for a woman he was courting, and their disagreements over whether he should affect upper class and expensive ways such as wearing a wig and...

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Uploaded by:   thosser

Date:   05/08/2001

Category:   Biographies

Length:   5 pages (1,139 words)

Views:   2248

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