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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
And through the veil of a closed lid 5 The ancient worthies I see again:
I hear the tap of the elder's cane,
Stately and slow, with thoughtful air, 10 His black cap hiding his whitened hair,
Walks the Judge of the great Assize,
15 Who swears to his hurt and changes not;
Yet, touched and softened nevertheless,
True and tender and brave and just,
Touching and sad, a tale is told,
With a haunting sorrow that never slept,
Of an error that left the sting of crime,
And spake, in the name of both, the word 30
That gave the witch's neck to the cord,
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 sonfession. He is said to have observed the day privately on each annual return thereafter. The custom still holds for churche to appoint their own fasts.
28. Sır Matthew Hale, the great English judge, was a devout believer in the existence of witchcraft, and in 16+5 a great qumber 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,
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
45 Green forever the memory be
Of the Judge of the old Theocracy,
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
55. In 1700 Sewall wrote a little tract of three pages on The Selling of Joseph, which has been characterized as “an achte, compact, powerful statement of the case against American slav. ery, leaving, indeed, alınost nothing new tu be said a century and a half afterward, when the sad thing came up for tinal ad. Justment."
Reprinted n Mass. Hist. Society's Proceedings for 1863-1864, pp. 161-165.
And the cunning trickster and knave of courts
Ruling as right the will of the strong, 65 Poverty, crime, and weakness wrong;
Wide-eared to power, to the wronged and weak
Order of nature and law of God ;
Reverence folly, and awe misplaced;
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,
80 I see, far southward, this quiet day,
The hills of Newbury rolling away,
Crimson, and gold, and amethyst.
Plum Island lies, like a whale aground,
The bills 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 certain 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;
Throngh green elm arches and maple leaves, -
Over whose threshold of oak and stone 100 Life and Death have come and gone!
There pictured tiles in the fireplace show,
The long clock ticks on the foot-worn stairs, 105 And the low, broad chimney shows the crack
By the earthquake made a century back.
Beyond are orchards and planting lands,
And, where north and south the coastlines run
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
Weaving like shuttles my web of rhyme.
Who once on yon misty hillsides stood, -
And, propped on his staff of age, looked down, 124. As a matter of fact Sewall was forty-five years old when be uttered bis prophecy.