Witch Trials 1692 Sites Tour
Copp's Hill Burying Ground|
(located at the intersection of Hull and Snowhill Streets).
tomb: beneath a simple table stone (Plate 5) are buried three ministers
of the powerful Mather family: Increase, Cotton, and Samuel--father, son,
and grandson, respectively. The original inscription on the stone reads:
THE REVEREND DOCTORS INCREASE, COTTON, & SAMUEL MATHER were intered in this Vault. 'Tis the Tomb of our Father's MATHER -- CROCKER'S I DIED Augt 27th 1723 AE 84 C DIED FEB 13th 1727 AE 65 S DIED June 27th 1785 AE 79a. Increase Mather: born in 1639, he was named Increase, his son later wrote, "because of the never-to-be-forgotten Increase, of every sort, wherewith GOD favoured the Country, about the time of his Nativity." Increase graduated from Harvard College in 1656 and went to England shortly afterward, but was compelled to return to Massachusetts in 1661 at the restoration of Charles II. He became minister of the North Church in Boston, and in 1685 was appointed to the presidency of Harvard, a position which he held until i701. Between 1688 and 1692, Increase lived in England and renegotiated the new Massachusetts charter. He returned to Massachusetts in May 1692 with the charter and the new royal governor, Sir William Phips, only to find the colony besieged by witches. Although critical of the witchcraft proceedings, Increase was present at George Burroughs's trial and felt him justly condemned. In October 1692, his address to a convocation of ministers, later published under the title Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men, helped turn the tide against spectral evidence. When Robert Calef's reappraisal of the Salem witchcraft, More Wonders of the Invisible World, was published in 1700, Increase was so incensed by its treatment of him and his son Cotton that he had the book publicly burned in the college yard.
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