[Up] [Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Witch Hunts, etc.


>I'm trying to send this Email and all the line endings are all messed
>up.  I've noticed the same phenomenon with other Emails that have been
>sent to the group.  I usually don't have this problem but now, it seems,
>I do.  Any quick fix?

No idea; sorry.

>Your comments are a perfect example of  why it is imprudent to draw conclusions
>before all the facts are in.  Thanks for reminding me.  Mea Culpa.
>Some of us hear the word "farmer" and we automatically think, as I did,
>"up at the crack of dawn to stand behind a plough drawn by a single mule;
>few to help you besides your immediate family; possible next-year's
>victim to a fickle Mother Nature"--things like that.  You forget that
>some farmers are more successful farmers--hired hands to stand behind
>the plough or plant next year's promise in the ground--who can sleep much
>later in the morning than the people they pay.  They may have been strict,
>even cruel, with the workers who ploughed their fields but, chances are,
>when the family histories are written, it's just the good stuff that

[ Excess quotations omitted. ]

Yes, we rural types are aware of the sentiments of you city slickers. :-)

In the case of these people, it wasn't so much that they paid people
to farm; they mostly didn't.  They were, however, a community that helped
each other out, not to mention an extended family.  Many of these families
had been related even before they emigrated, and had become even more so
in their New World location.

>I, and you it seems, are here to see that that's not done.  I think
>that's a good thing.

Indeed, the main point was that things are not always as they seem
at first glance, and often, as in this case, not even as they seem
at second look.

>Take a colonial big farmer to the enth degree and, I guess, you might
>get a big multinational farmer like the Dole Corporation or, to step
>down the ladder a rung or two, the rich Mexican landowner who "acquiress"
>the lands of the poorer to grow the cut flowers for North American graves
>I mentioned in a previous post.

There weren't any farmers in Salem Village farming on anywhere near
that kind of scale.

There is also a major difference in kind between the small family farmer
and the big corporate farms.

>The bigger any sort of business concern gets, the more diffuse the sense
>of guilt
>gets.  If you are the sole owner of a business or a farm, all decisions are
>yours--and the resultant responsibility for those decisions are your's, too.
>When a "board of stockholders" is called to decide, well, the majority rules--
>"I tried to do the right things, but I was outvoted--what could I do?"

That's one of the reasons.

>I still like the idea that some people left the Salem area in disgust. 

That certainly happened.

>And I would like MORE to believe that they left partly in disgust of
>their own actions, or inactions.  But who knows?

I've never been able to find out that much detail.  However, they were
Puritans, so it's not much of a stretch to assume some such element
in their actions.  There were several practical reasons, as well,
which I won't go into here.

>  I would really like only to be sure that what I
>believe is the Truth, no matter what that turns out to be.

``What is truth?'' jesting Pilate said, washing his hands.

>I think that it was an heroic act for some of the accusers to eventually
>apologize, on record, for the deaths they caused.  But again, who knows?
> Perhaps they had just been told that it was only a more prudent time to
> do so.  Maybe they were finally just more concerned about the ultimate
>salvation of their own immortal souls, than the people they had already
>helped sentence to death and eternal damnation.

If you read the apology, the jurors certainly sound like they were sorry for
what they did.

>All Best!
>PS:  I know that all but one of the Salem witches was hanged.  The other was
>"pressed" to death.  Any idea why?

``September 19 [1692] Giles Corey was pressed to death for refusing a trial.''


>  I seem to recall reading that as the weight
>that would eventually kill him got to a certain point his tongue popped out of
>his mouth, and someone pushed it back in with the point of his walking stick.
>Was that the Reverend Parris, or was that someone else?

Someone else; the sheriff.


There is copious material about the events of 1692, and much of it is on the
web.  It has little directly to do with Scotland or Sinclairs, but the methods
and the madness were similar to other witchcraft trials elsewhere.

John S. Quarterman <jsq@quarterman.org>
[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@quarterman.org
[ To get off or on the list, see http://sinclair.quarterman.org/list.html