Tryals of the New England Witches

By: Increase Mather

Collection ID



Printed Book




London, England




Printed on Paper


8.3 × 6.3 × 0.4 in. (21 × 16 × 1 cm)

Exhibit Location

Not on View

Increase Mather was a prominent Puritan minister and the president of Harvard College in the late seventeenth century. His son, Cotton Mather, was also a prominent minister who contributed to the prosecution in the Salem Witch Trials. When public opinion turned against the prosecuting ministers, Increase penned two texts, Cases of Conscience Concerning Witchcraft and A Further Account of the Tryals, to defend his son. Both Cotton and Increase continued to insist upon the real existence and danger of witchcraft—an issue Increase had written about years earlier in his 1684 Remarkable Providences—but portrayed the ministers implicated in the prosecution as circumspect and cautious rather than hasty and hotheaded. A Further Account of the Tryals outlined the timeline of events and the available evidence of witchcraft in Salem. It was first printed in 1693, bound together with a reprint of Cases of Conscience.

Printed in 1693 by John Dunton, London, England. Acquired by Richard Holmden, England.[1] Acquired by 2020 by Ted Steinbock, private collector, Louisville, Kentucky; Privately purchased in 2020 by Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] The armorial bookplate of Richard Holmden appears on the front pastedown. The coat of arms belongs to the Holmden (or Holmeden) family. It was granted on June 20, 1577, and features a fesse between two chevrons, the motto “semper viret,” and an otter’s head crest. While it is not certain which “Richard” in the family lineage this bookplate belongs to, it may be Reverend Richard Holmden Amphlett (1782–1842) of Wychbold Hall, Hadzor.

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