Cotton Mather


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Mather, COTTON, clergyman; born in Boston, February 12, 1663; was one of the most notable of the early New England divines. He graduated at Harvard in 1678, was employed several years in teaching, and was ordained a minister in May, 1684, as colleague of his father, Dr. Increase Mather. The doctrine of special providence he carried to excess. He was credulous and superstitious, and believed he was doing God service by witch-hunting. His Wonders of the Invisible World (1692) gives an account of the trials of witchcraft. In 1700 he published More Wonders, and seems never to have relinquished his belief in witches and witch-craft. Aside from this peculiarity, he was a most sincere, earnest, indefatigable Christian worker, engaging in every good work; and he was the first to employ the press extensively in this country in the dissemination of tracts treating of temperance, religion, and social morals. He preached and wrote for sailors, Indians, and negroes. The number of his published works issued between 1686 and 1727 was 382. He died in Boston, Feb. 13, 1728.

Salem Witch

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