Salem Witch Judge

Salem Witch Judge In Puritan Samuel Sewall sent twenty people to their deaths on trumped up witchcraft charges The nefarious witch trials in Salem Massachusetts represent a low point of American history made fam

  • Title: Salem Witch Judge
  • Author: Eve LaPlante
  • ISBN: 9780061539084
  • Page: 145
  • Format: ebook
  • In 1692 Puritan Samuel Sewall sent twenty people to their deaths on trumped up witchcraft charges The nefarious witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts represent a low point of American history, made famous in works by Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne himself a descendant of one of the judges , and Arthur Miller The trials might have doomed Sewall to infamy except for a couIn 1692 Puritan Samuel Sewall sent twenty people to their deaths on trumped up witchcraft charges The nefarious witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts represent a low point of American history, made famous in works by Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne himself a descendant of one of the judges , and Arthur Miller The trials might have doomed Sewall to infamy except for a courageous act of contrition now commemorated in a mural that hangs beneath the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House picturing Sewall s public repentance He was the only Salem witch judge to make amends.But, remarkably, the judge s story didn t end there Once he realized his error, Sewall turned his attention to other pressing social issues Struck by the injustice of the New England slave trade, a commerce in which his own relatives and neighbors were engaged, he authored The Selling of Joseph, America s first antislavery tract While his peers viewed Native Americans as savages, Sewall advocated for their essential rights and encouraged their education, even paying for several Indian youths to attend Harvard College Finally, at a time when women were universally considered inferior to men, Sewall published an essay affirming the fundamental equality of the sexes The text of that essay, composed at the deathbed of his daughter Hannah, is republished here for the first time.In Salem Witch Judge, acclaimed biographer Eve LaPlante, Sewall s great great great great great great granddaughter, draws on family lore, her ancestor s personal diaries, and archival documents to open a window onto life in colonial America, painting a portrait of a man traditionally vilified, but who was in fact an innovator and forefather who came to represent the best of the American spirit.

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      Published :2020-06-03T09:41:59+00:00

    About "Eve LaPlante"

    1. Eve LaPlante

      MARMEE LOUISA, Eve s groundbreaking biography of Louisa May Alcott and her mother, is out in paperback MY HEART IS BOUNDLESS, the first compilation of the private papers of Abigail May Alcott, the real Marmee, which Eve edited, is also available in paperback Eve s previous books are the biographies AMERICAN JEZEBEL and SALEM WITCH JUDGE, the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction, and SEIZED, a nonfiction portrait of a form of epilepsy that illuminates the mind body problem Visit with her online at EveLaPlante.


    1. RATHER TEDIOUS.”Calvinism is founded on the belief that humanity is totally depraved (Samuel and contemporaries often used the word vile). . .”—page 25”He [Samuel] was not a man of the Enlightenment, nor would he ever be. […] he displayed irritation at the burgeoning sciences.”—page 205Steeped in an overabundance of names, dates and relationships; begats, begots and bedieds; slipping and sliding all over the timeline, between 1630 and 1729—backward, forward and sideways; Salem Wi [...]

    2. It's unfortunate that this fascinating story from early America is recounted by a descendant of its subject. The author is a fine writer, but her ancestral link to Samuel Sewall infuses the tale with a personal earnestness that makes it read more like a college thesis than a solid work of biography. The application of primary sources, particularly from the exhaustive diary of Sewall himself, feels haphazard. The result is a narrative of individual moments in Sewall's life with loose connections [...]

    3. I'm about a third through this book--I have found it fascinating so far. The witch trials have not come up yet, but I'm getting great insight into the Puritan mindset in Boston in the late 1600s. I love knowing how other people in different times lived--thankfully Samuel faithfully kept a journal so the details are available. Will review again when I'm throughFinished the book yesterday. Wow, what a beautiful biography of a man I have come to have great respect for. I think anyone who likes biog [...]

    4. According to Sewall descendantEve LaPlante, Samuel Sewall was the early American equivalent to 17th century English diarist Samuel Pepys. Indeed, using Sewall's journals and other contemporary documentation, the author has gleaned a neat representation of 17th century colonial New England.Salem Witch Judge explains how otherwise rational men might persecute and condemn hundreds of their peers to the gallows. Indeed, while modern theorists might argue ideas of power and intrigue that may or may n [...]

    5. Samuel Sewall was one of the small group of judges that led the courts during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Trying to rate this book is rather difficult has I had several different thoughts, mostly on how it is written.First, this does not flow well. The first 40% of the book is Sewall's life. It skips back and forth through his adult years. The next 15% is dealing with the lead-up, the actual trials, and ending of the Salem Witch Trials. The next 25% is the remainder of his life before you ge [...]

    6. As a Massachusetts native and descendant of Pilgrim and Puritan settlers, I was interested in learning more about the Salem witch trials. I had never heard of Samuel Sewall but was quickly impressed with the man. Although, admittedly being one of the judges in the trials was not a person I wished to admire, but he repented his activity in condemning witches to die and as the only judge to do so becomes a sympathetic person. His long life became one of inspiration to me as he is documented in his [...]

    7. This work regarding Samuel Sewall is a good read, but not a very engaging read. For me, it reads like a summary of his life, and honestly a summary of Boston / New England at the time. Still, the book is well researched, and presented in an easy to understand manner. I believe that it is possible to read the chapters almost in any order as they don't seem to build on each other (well the ones on the Witch Trials may). I think I would have liked to have more about his struggle with what happened [...]

    8. A little exhaustive on the Puritan theology, and the pace didn't didn't pick up until about halfway through, but still an engaging read about a remarkable guy.

    9. So terribly boring. I couldn't get through it. Felt like I was reading the Bible with all the psalms and biblical quotes. I found myself skipping paragraphs just to get through it.

    10. There was one judge involved in the deaths of 20 innocent people claimed to be witches in Salem in 1692 who actually felt guilty over what he had done. Years later he publically repented and lived the rest of his life in an attempt to become closer to God.Eva LaPlante is one of his descendents and heard stories about Sewall from her great-aunt during her childhood. It wasn't until she was older when she figured out what all the fuss was about.She's written a great story of a man who became a jud [...]

    11. I disliked the chronological jumping around which did make it harder to follow, but overall a very interesting study of the life - and times - of Samuel Sewall. Although I have read several books on the Salem witch trials, this book definately went much further in giving the reader a feel for the constant distress felt by those living in that time/place due to the religious dogma with which they were constantly being indoctrinated. In turn, for the first time I have some idea of how such hysteri [...]

    12. The author is a descendant of Samuel Sewall, the only judge at the Salem witch trials in 1692 to later regret his actions and apologize publicly for his role in condemning 20 people to death. Sewall kept a diary for years, and the author seems to have wanted to cram as much detail from the diaries as possible into the book. Ironically, Sewell wrote almost nothing about the trials, so it's hard to see how his change of heart occurred. In later years, he stood out from most Puritans by advocating [...]

    13. In 1692 Samuel Sewall, 44, was one of the nine judges presiding over the Salem Witch Trials. Eve Laplante, a direct descendent of Sewall, states her purpose in writing this biography was to uncover the truths and restore Sewall to the hero she believes he was. [return]Her bibliography shows extensive research including Sewall s daily journals. He was devoutly religious and struggled with his sense of right versus wrong during and after the trial. After five years he was compelled to repent for h [...]

    14. The strength of this book is in details, details about aspects of Sewall's life such as family celebrations and losses, writings, travels, and religious worship.These details are meticulously researched and discussed. And they build a picture that enable us to understand what led Sewall and other educated and respected men to take part as presiding judges in the salem witch trials, a dark and shameful moment in American History. These same details also provide us with insights into Sewall's deci [...]

    15. This IS an interesting book and gives a real insight into the mindset and society of the times. If it had been structured differently it might have been a four or five star read - the problem is that it sets out to discuss incidents that occurred during a period of time using evidence that doesn't cover that period of time and makes no mention of these incidents. This book is mostly based on and quotes extensively from, Samuel Sewall's own diary - which he didn't seem to make any entries in duri [...]

    16. This book was a good read overall for those interested in the time period. I'd say it falls somewhere between popular and scholarly history. She included a lot of interesting facts of the time period in addition to the story of Samuel's life. I've read a lot about this time period and Boston history, but had not run across some of the stories she shared. I also enjoyed the appendix in the back telling about what has become of many of the locations in the book as well as the inclusion of several [...]

    17. This book did have some interesting content on life in early Boston but I found that it was too buried in the overly dry and scholarly style. I think part of the problem is that the sources being quoted were somewhat stiff, extremely religious, and often dealing with banal day-to-day things like dinner with so-and-so, so-and-so got married, etc. Also there were a lot of deaths (and I am not talking about the witches). For many of the people in the book you end up reading more about their sicknes [...]

    18. A well-researched and readable account of the only Salem Witch Hunt judge who ever felt any real remorse. He was the only judge during those trials that apologized publicly and in his own way tried to make amends. The book is heavily quoted from Samuel Sewall's own diary that he kept for the majority of his long life. Some people may think this book is tedious because it includes lots and lots of details, but to me lots and lots of details makes any book more interesting. It is definitely worth [...]

    19. This book changed my understanding of the Puritans. Samuel Sewell was a devoted Christian who was living in a time before enlightenment. The author helps the reader understand the fear and terror of the times. In a time of high infant mortality, wars and famine, Samuel Sewell was asked to protect his land and people. He sentenced friend and enemy to death. He later repented of his part in the Salem Witch trials. He also wrote some of the first anti-slavery tracts of his time. His repentance seem [...]

    20. Disclaimer: I didn't finish this book. I just couldn't.I got to page 100, and was just so bored. It seemed like the author was so intent on including every bit of information about Sewall that it got bogged down. I really just felt like a term paper instead of the story of a man's life. I know that everyone's life can be a bit boring, but good grief! I wish I had made it to the witch trials because that might have made it interesting, but I couldn't dot it. I don't give up on books easily, but t [...]

    21. The story told here is so powerful and important that I wish I could give it a higher rating but the choppy chronology makes the book hard to read and the reader is smothered with many details that are not of great interest. The basic story, though, about a member of the panel of judges who made a public confession of guilt and remorse for his part in the sentencing of twenty persons to execution that he came to believe innocent is a story that needs to be better known and remembered. A longer r [...]

    22. I picked this up as a, Kindle Daily Deal. I am fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials so always on the look out for new books on the subject.Samuel Sewall was the judge who presided over the deaths of 20 innocent people who were accused of being witches. Sewell later in life publicly apologized for his actions and spent his remaining years atoning for what he did. An interesting history of the period and of the man who acknowledged his misdeed and what he did to atone.

    23. 17th Century New England was a far different place than the USA is today yet our basic beliefs, hopes and dreams grow out of this period of history. Samuel Sewall left a diary recording most of his life. This book places Sewall in his times and shows us how we are related to these times. If the book has a fault it is the title. The witch trial and his repentance take up only about fifty pages of the book but then again who would read this book without such a title.

    24. This biography is fairly interesting and gives insight into Puritan thoughts and beliefs during the late 17th-century. It also portrays Samuel Sewall and the changes he makes in his own life after participating in the Salem witch trials. It's interesting, but the thoughts are somewhat disjointed at times and the author will skip from one decade to another and back again making the book hard to follow.

    25. Pretty enjoyable historical biography. Sewall seemed to be ahead of his time in a lot of ways. Also what I really noticed is that everyone died constantly in the 1700s; it was really normal for Sewall to go to multiple funerals within a week. Also learned about an antiquated burial custom we don't exactly do anymore which I am going to learn aboutIDE FROM DYING though this was a pretty interesting book.

    26. It's hard to rate this because Samuel Sewall was a fascinating man, but the actual writing of the book was a little choppy.Back to the "fascinating man" part He was a man ahead of his time spiritually, emotionally, and politically. His descendants include some of the great thinkers of our country. He loved his almost-native land of Newbury and Boston. I could go on. If you can follow the jumpy chronology, you will love finding out about this brave and courageous man.

    27. Interesting book written by Samuel Sewall's descendant. A very religious man-A calvinist who was behind the curve on the witch trials, but way ahead in his opposition to slavery. He wrote the first essay against slavery in the new world, pointing out among other things that the English were constantly complaining about their own people enslaved by North Africans, but turned around and enslaved West Africans.

    28. Interesting historyBook is a biography of Samuel Sewall, one of the Sal e m Witch Trial judges. While the book is interesting, the story could have been told much more succinctly which would have raised the rating to a 5 star. There were a number of times when it just became tedious to read.

    29. I couldn't get into it for the first half (his history and life before the trials was a bit dry) but once the witch accusations started, I settled in for a nice read. I also liked that the book continued for some time after that, outlining how he repented and what that really changed for the rest of his life. This is a historical/geneological book, so theoretically there is no fiction in it.

    30. Fascinating story of one of our more interesting founding fathers. The book is rich in personal and public detail about Puritan life in and around Boston in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Sewall was an unlikely early advocate for abolition, women, equal justice, and how his faith and repentance over the Salem witch hunt brought him that far. Worth the read.

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