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were both pioneers in New England, and the fam ily home was in Newbury, Massachusetts. Here Sewall spent his boyhood, but after graduating at Harvard he first essayed preaching, and then entered upon secular pursuits, becoming a member of the government and finally chief justice. He presided at the sad trial of witches, and afterward made public confession of his error in a noble paper which was read in church before the congregation, and assented to by the judge, who stood alone as it was read and bowed at its conclusion. The paper is preserved in the first volume of the Diary of Samuel Sewall, published by the Massachusetts Historical Society. He was an upright man, of tender conscience and reverent mind. His charac ter is well drawn by the poet in lines 13- 20.]
Up and down the village streets
5 The ancient worthies I see again:
And the silver buckles of shoe and knee.
15 Who swears to his hurt and changes not;
Touching and sad, a tale is told,
When he sat on the bench of the witchcraft
With the laws of Moses and Hale's Reports,
And spake, in the name of both, the word 30 That gave the witch's neck to the cord,
And piled the oaken planks that pressed
His door was bolted, his curtain drawn;
15. See Psalm xv. 4.
23. It was the custom in Sewall's time for churches and individuals to hold fasts whenever any public or private need suggested the fitness; and as state and church were very closely connected, the General Court sometimes ordered a fast; out of this custom sprang the annual fast in spring, now observed, but it is of comparatively recent date. Such a fast was ordered on the 14th of January, 1697, when Sewall made his special onfession. He is said to have observed the day privately on sach annual return thereafter. The custom still holds for
churche to appoint their own fasts.
28. Sir Matthew Hale, the great English judge, was a devout believer in the existence of witchcraft, and in 1645 a great number of trials were held before him. The reports of those trials furnished precedents for Sewall and his court, not unas. sisted by the records in the Old Testament.
35 No foot on his silent threshold trod,
No eye looked on him save that of God, As he baffled the ghosts of the dead with charms Of penitent tears, and prayers, and psalms, And, with precious proofs from the sacred word 40 Of the boundless pity and love of the Lord, His faith confirmed and his trust renewed That the sin of his ignorance, sorely rued, Might be washed away in the mingled flood Of his human sorrow and Christ's dear blood!
Green forever the memory be
Like a far-seen, sunlit mountain-side
By the cloudy shadows which o'er it glide!
50 Honor and praise to the Puritan
Who the halting step of his age outran,
In the infinite love that stooped to save,
55 Dared not brand his brother a slave!
"Who doth such wrong," he was wont to say,
"Flings up to Heaven a hand-grenade
Widely as heaven and hell, contrast
That brave old jurist of the past
55. In 1700 Sewall wrote a little tract of three pages on The Selling of Joseph, which has been characterized as an acute, tompact, powerful statement of the case against American slavary, leaving, indeed, almost nothing new to be said a century and a half afterward, when the sad thing came up for final adJustment." Reprinted n Mass. Hist. Society's Proceedings for 1863-1864, pp. 161-165.
And the cunning trickster and knave of courts Who the holy features of Truth distorts, Ruling as right the will of the strong, 65 Poverty, crime, and weakness wrong; Wide-eared to power, to the wronged and weak Deaf as Egypt's gods of leek; Scoffing aside at party's nod
Order of nature and law of God;
70 For whose dabbled ermine respect were waste, Reverence folly, and awe misplaced;
Justice of whom 't were vain to seek
As from Koordish robber or Syrian Sheik! Oh, leave the wretch to his bribes and sins; 75 Let him rot in the web of lies he spins! To the saintly soul of the early day, To the Christian judge, let us turn and say: "Praise and thanks for an honest man! Glory to God for the Puritan !"
I see, far southward, this quiet day,
85 Long and low, with dwarf trees crowned,
A stone's toss over the narrow sound.
The hills curve round like a bended bow;
90 A silver arrow from out them sprung,
I see the shine of the Quasycung;
67. There was an early belief that the Egyptians worshipped gods of leek, but it has been shown that the belief rose from tertain restrictions in the use of onions laid upon the priests, and from the offering of them as a part of sacrifice.
And, round and round, over valley and hill,
Here to a ferry, and there to a mill;
95 And glimpses of chimneys and gabled eaves,
Over whose threshold of oak and stone
The dresser glitters with polished wares,
I see it all like a chart unrolled,
But my thoughts are full of the past and old,
115 I hear the tales of my boyhood told;
And the shadows and shapes of early days
With measured movement and rhythmic chime
120 I think of the old man wise and good
And, propped on his staff of age, looked down,
124. As a matter of fact Sewall was forty-five years old when be uttered his prophecy.