Judge Sewall's Apology

Judge Sewall's Apology

The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of An American Conscience

Book - 2005
Rate this:

The Salem witch hunt of 1692 has entered our vocabulary as the very essence of injustice. Biographer and novelist Richard Francis looks at the familiar drama with fresh eyes, grasping the true significance of this cataclysm through the personal story of Samuel Sewall, New England Puritan, Salem trial judge, antislavery agitator, defender of Native American rights, utopian theorist, campaigner against periwigs, family man, gallant wooer.

Sewall's life encompassed the tensions that faced the second-generation colonists, caught between the staunch conservatism of the Puritans and the possibilities their new world offered. Everywhere there was conflict, schism, and violence; the new Americans were pitted against the Native Americans, whose pagan ways terrified them, and a hostile mother country intent on imposing her control over the colony. Out of the struggle to maintain unity emerged the forces that drove the Salem tragedy. For the first time, Francis reveals the nature and scale of the threat the authorities believed they were facing.

Five guilt-wracked years after pronouncing judgment at the trials, Sewall walked into his church in Boston and recanted the guilty verdicts, praying for forgiveness. This extraordinary act not only proved a turning point for Sewall, it marked the moment when modern American values and attitudes came into being -- the shift from an almost medieval and allegorical view of good and evil to a respect for the mysteries of the human heart.

Drawing on Sewall's copious diaries, Francis enables us to see the early colonists not as grim ideologues but as flesh and blood idealists, striving for a new society while coming to terms with the desires and imperfections of ordinary life. Through this unsung hero of conscience, we gain access to the first lost frontier of the New World.

Publisher: New York : Fourth Estate, c2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780007163625
0007163622
Branch Call Number: B/SEWALL
Characteristics: xvii, 412 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at SDPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top