SAMUEL SEWALL OF BOSTON by Ola Elizabeth Winslow


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In 1661, at the age of nine, Samuel Sewall's English family brought him with them to Boston, where he was to live for 69 years; this book, based on his own diary, tells of his life during those years and of the Boston he knew. The son of prosperous parents, the boy was carefully educated and at 14 entered Harvard College, where austerity ruled and the pupils conversed in Latin; for the rest of his life he fought to keep Harvard as he had known it in student days. Married to the daughter of a rich merchant, he himself became a ""merchant adventurer"" and sent his cargoes to far ports. A churchman and magistrate, never a real leader but a ""man who was listened to"", he served for 36 years as a judge in the Massachusetts courts. Like most men of his time he was a firm believer in witchcraft and as a judge in the Salem witchcraft trails helped send 19 men and women to death, writing that ""they died by righteous sentence""; later he admitted error in believing the testimony of their accusers. He died in 1729, ""a man of Boston"" to the last.

Publisher: Macmillan