Samuel Sewall's Diary

Samuel Sewall's Diary

Samuel Sewall's Diary

Samuel Sewall's Diary

Excerpt

The Diary of Samuel Sewnll of which the present volume is an abridgement, was first published in three volumes by the Massachusetts Historical Society ( 1878-1882). It is the most intimate record now available of life in New England during the important period which it covers, and the genius of the author for self-revelation has frequently won him the compliment of a comparison with Samuel Pepys, his English contemporary. One difference between the two Diaries, however, is that while that of Pepys was kept for only ten years, that of Sewall covers the major portion of his life. Sewall was born in England in 1652. He came to New England at the age of nine, studied divinity at Harvard, entered the ministry, married, and thereafter devoted himself to public affairs. He held numerous offices in the Massachusetts colony, becoming in 1692 a judge of the Superior Court, and in 1718 its Chief Justice. He died in Boston in 1730. He was involved in the legal machinery which condemned the Salem witches to death, but later published a recantation, standing in church while it was read. The Diary is valuable not only for its picture of public life between 1680 and 1730 but for its picture of the author himself in the privacy of his confessional. His relations with his wife and their fifteen children, his journies to towns outside of Boston, his business observations, his devotions, and especially his full account towards the close of his famous courtship of Madam Winthrop -- these, with innumerable minor details, are the materials of a rich and appealing narrative.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.