|Notes for Robert Calef|
|"This is an account of the English ancestry of Robert Calfe of Calef, the Boston merchant and author of 'More Wonders of the Invisible World', in which he exposed the withcraft delusion and thereby incurred the wrath of the Mathers (London, 1702; The Register, vol. XXX, p. 461). He was batpized in Stanstead, near Glemsford, co. Suffolk, 2 Nov. 1648, and emigrated to Boston, Mass. he died 13 April 1719, 'aged 71 years' and lies buried in the Eustis Street Burial Ground in Roxbury, Mass. (The Register, vol. XIV, p. 52).|
The Calfe or Calef family, for the name is spelled both ways, is an ancient Suffolk family, where the name occurs in the records at the Public Record Office as early as 1253.
The Stanstead family has been traced to William Calef, who died testate in 1600, and until quite recently their anceint cottage was standing and a meadow there is still known as 'Calef's Meadow', upon which Jerome Calfe, uncle of Robert, bequeathed a rent charge of 5/ for charity by his will in 1640 (information from the Rev. J. Walter Sprechley, Rector of Stanstead)." 1597
"Stanstead Parish Register
Family of Calfe
Baptized . . .
1648 Robert Son of Joseph Nov 2" 1597
He was said to be of Boston and Roxbury. 881
"The first record found of Robert and Mary Calef is that of the baptism of their son Edward at the New South Church, Boston, in 1688. In what year they came to this new land, and whether James Calef, forty years before in Rowley, and Samuel Calef, land owner in 'the Eastern Country,' now Maine, before 1700, were kin, are questions for the curious. All we know is that there were six children in the home of the doughty merchant when Edward was born,and since no record of their baptisms is found, it may safely be taken that they had been born in England, through their town is still to discover.. . . He established himself as a merchant and cloth maker, and was soon one of Boston's solid citizens, serving as administrator of three estates in 1690 and appointed constable in 1691. . . Early in the next year  another case of witchcraft was announced, this time in the North Church, the special domain of the Mathers, and Robert Calef went with others to visit this young woman, Margaret Rule, when Increase and Cotton Mather were both to be there. A description of Calef on this occasion exits in an article in the Boston Saturday Evening Gazette of September 7, ___, by Walter Littlefield. [text to be entered] The result of this encounter was a series of letters and a description of the examination made by the two clergymen of the poor woman that caused Cotton Mather to have Calef arrested for slander, and to decry him the pulpit. Calef appears to have been unperturbed by the arrest, and used part of his time while on bail to write further to the incensed minister. The case was dismissed, no one appearing against Robert, but he still persisted in his demand for a rply to his questions. . . His letters infuriate Cotton Mather to such phrases as 'vile fool', 'instrument of Satan,' 'coal from Hell,' but while Calef was always studiously courteous the flashed of satire and again of humor make no doubt that he is enjoying the combat." More details to be entered. 881
"At the time of his removal to Roxbury in 1710, he was tithing-man, an office of dignity, tapping the heads of drowsy parishioner and restless girls and boys being but the lighter part of its duties. In Roxbury he and Mary had a dozen quiet years in which they watched their children make their way as substantial citizens. . . In Roxbury, Robert himself set up loom and dye house, bought and leased tracts of land, still ventured in foreign trade and served his fellow townsmen as selectman until the day came when he knew that he had fought his last battle. Trusted neighbors werd children and a grandson, and the old man told what was to be done with his property. In another room these friends wrote down what he had told them and signed it. The will, in this rare form gave everything to the beloved wife, Mary to be divided after her death among the children. It was a large property." 881
"Of Robert Calef almost nothing is known except what can be learned from his book. There has even been doubt as to whether, of the two Robert Calefs known to us in Boston at this time, the writer was the father or the son. In 1692, the time of the Salem witchcraft, the father's age was 44, the son's 18. [S.G. Drake, in the introduction to his edition of Calef, would make his age 14; but the genealogist of the family, Mr. Matthew A. Stickney, says 18. Yet Mr. Stickney urges the father's authorship (N.E. Hist. and Gen. Register, XXX. 461; XLIX. 224). He died in 1894, leaving this genealogy, alas, unpublished, and his heirs decline to let it be consulted.] It is unlikely that anybody would have thought of the son but for a note copied into one of the memorandum books of Dr. Jeremy Belknap (1744-1798). [Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, 1858, p. 288.] This note, of unknown source, reads: 'Robert Calef, author of 'More Wonder of the Invisible World,' printed at London in 1700, was a native of England; a young man of good sense, and free from superstition; a merchant in Boston. He was furnished with materials for his work by Mr. Brattle, of Cambridge; and his brother, of Boston; and other gentlemen, who were opposed to the Salem proceedings. - E.P.' The writer speaks as if with knowledge; and that so sound a historian as Dr. Belknap should have copied the note speaks for its worth. Able scholars have by it been led to ascribe the book to the younger Robert; but more careful study seems to show the objections insuperable. The author never adds 'Jr.' to his name, as a son would have done, and as seems to have been the younger Robert's custom. [Thus in 1706 'Robt Calef, Jun.,' was chosen a clerk of the market (Boston Record commissioners' Reports, VIII. 36); thus in 1708 'Robert Calef, junr.' becomes a constable (id., VIII, 45), and gains permission to erect a house (id., XI. 68, XXIX. 187); thus, too, in that year (see plate) he signs himself 'Ro. Calfe Jnr'; thus in 1710 'Robert Calfe, Jr.,' appears on the rolls of he Artillery Company (N.E. Hist. and Gen Register, XXXVIII. 341); and it is after his father's death that in 1719 to a receipted account, in 1721 to his will, in 1722 to the release of a mortgage, he signed 'Rob Calfe,' 'Ro: Calfe,' 'Robert Calfe' (see the last two in Drake's Witchcraft Delusion, II. xxii, xxiv).] He never pleads youth, even when mostt apologetic; and, what weighs more, his indignant foes, seeking all ways to discredit him, never hint at such a thing. His matter and style have in them nothing of boyishness; and once, in words suggestive of a migrant and a man of years, he speaks (p. 297, below) of 'sound Reason, which is what I have been long seeking for in this Country in vain.' Most serious of all, his handwriting seems that found in documents clearly the elder Calef's, and is that of a mature and even by 1700 that of an aging man; while that of the younger Robert was in 1719-1722 still firm and flexible - and notably different. [From the author of More Wonders we have two unquestionable autographs: (1) his marginalia of 1695 on Cotton Mather's paper (see below, p. 306, note 1) and (2) a letter of 1700 presenting a copy of his book to the earl of Bellomont, then governor of Massachusetts and New York. A page of the former is to be photographed in the Massachusetts Historical Society's Proceedings for 1913-1914; and the latter (now in the New York Public Library) is reproduced in full in the Memorial History of Boston (II. 168). The following specimens have also been preserved: (1) the signature 'Robt. Calef' from the report of two appraisers, October 30, 1693; (2) the signature 'Robt. Calef' from the verdict of a Boston Coroner's jury, January 15, 1696; (3) the same signature, with a line or two of text in the same hand, from the decision of two arbitrators (Boston, July 29, 1697); and (4) the last lines and the signature of a paper drawn by 'Robt. Calef' as a selectman of Roxbury in March, 1717 (?). That all six specimens are in the same hand, and in a hand different from the younger Calef's, will hardly be questioned. Is not the older Robert, too, more likely than the younger to have been an appraiser in 1693, a coroner's juror in 1696, and an arbiter in 1697? And (though Calef and calfe were undoubtedly pronounced alike or nearly so) is it not less probable that the author of More Wonders changed the habitual spelling of his signature than that a younger robert, if not the author, should thus have distunguished his identity from his father's? What arguments led the genealogist Stickney to ascribe the book to the father cannot now be learned: the 'full statement of the reasons' promised by him to the N.E. Hist. and Gen. Register (see XXX. 461) was, like his genealogy, never published. But, from an article on 'Robert Calef' by Mr. W.S. Harris in the Granite Monthly for 1907 (XXXIX. 157-163), and from correspondence with its author, it is learned that another student of the Calef pedigree (Mr. W.W. Lunt, of Hingham, Mass.) has reached that result by a comparison of handwritings. Mr. Harris, it should be added, quotes the Rev. John Kelly as saying in a funeral sermon (1808) for Judge John Calfe (b. 1740) of Hampstead, N.H., that the latter's ancestor (who was the elder Calef, not the younger) was the author of the book. " 1599
"Robert Calef the elder came to America at some time before 1688. He was a cloth-merchant, and doubtless a maker as well as a seller of cloths. [In 1701 Cotton Mather calls him 'the Weaver (though he presumes to call himself Merchant)' (Some Few Remarks, p. 35).] Of his eight children the eldest was, in 1692, a physician in Ipswich. What led to the writing of More Wonders he has himself told us in his book. It remains only to testify to the care and exactness which all comparison of his work with the records seems to show, and to remark that to a student of literature of witchcraft it is evident that his reading is larger than he cares to parade. Though he clearly belonged to the popular party, this is as likely to be a result as a cause - it is probably neither - of his feeling on the subject of the witch superstition; and that he had else any grievqnce against the Mathers or their colleagues there is no reason to think." 1599
"His book, though completed in 1697, was not printed till 1700, and then in London. In June, 1698, Cotton Mather records in his diary that 'a sort of Daducee in this town' 'hath written a Volumn of invented and notorious lies'; 'this Volumn,' he adds, 'hee is, as I understand, sending to England, that it may bee printed there.' Shy it found no printer in New England can bae guessed; the storm it raised when it appeared in print is well known. President Increase Mather 'ordered the wicked book to be burnt in the college yard,' [Eliot, Biographical Dictionary (1809), s.v. 'Calef'.] and his son's diary is eloquent with vexation. " [Text of Cotton Mather's entries against Robert Calef's work to be entered] 1599
"The doughty merchant survived the storm. In 1702-1704 he served his townsmen as an overseer of the poor, in 1707 was chosen an assessor, in 1710 a tithingman. It was perhaps about this time that he retired to Roxb ury, where in 1707 he had bought a place and where he was a selectman of the town when, in 1719, death found him. There, in the old burial ground just opposite his home, a stone still testifies that 'Here lyes buried the body of Mr. Robert Calef, aged seventy-one years, died April the Thirteenth, 1719. [ . . . From these mentions will be learned also the name of his wife, Mary, and of the two of his eight children who were born (1688, 1691) after his coming to Boston. It will be learned, too that in 1692 he was a constable, in 1694 hayward and fenceviewer, in 1697 a surveyor of highways, in 1698 a clerk of the market. At least it is to 'Robert calef,' not to 'Robert Calef, Jr.,' that the records award these offices. And it is perhaps to be noticed that while the name of 'Robert Calef' is often preceded by 'Mr.', that title does not appear before that of 'Robert Calef, Jr.'] " 1599
"Calef's book has been five times reprinted: in 1796, at Salem, by William carlton (12, pp. 318); again at Salem, in 1823, a mere reimpression, with the addition, from the court files, of Giles Corey's examination (12, pp. 312); in Boston, 1828 (24, pp. 333), again a reimpression; at Salem, 1861, edited by Mr. S.P. Fowler, with Cotton Mather's Wonders, in his volume Salem Witchcraft (see p. 207); and, more faithfully, in 1866 at Roxbury, as nos. VI., VII., of Woodward's Historical Series, under the editorship of S.G. Drake (see pp. 208-208). The present text follows the original edition (1700), but corrects it by the list of Errata to be found in the copy (once Cotton Mather's) possessed by the Massachusetts Historical Society. [See Drake's ed., III. 223.] " 1599
He has an entry in the "Dictionary of American Biography" [Text to be entered]. 1598
"The traditional interpretation of what happened at Salem is as much the product of casual journalism and imaginative literature as it is of historical scholarship. It might be summarized as follows: . . . the only significant opposition to the proceedings at Salem came from the merchant class, specifically from Thomas Brattle and Robert Calef . . Yet the facts are quite contrary to these common assumptions . . . The writings of Brattle and Calef came too late to have any significant influence on the course of events in Massachusetts. . . Taking his cue from Robert Calef, he [Charles Wentworth Upham] representted Mather as the man who 'got up' Salem witchcraft. . . . A second exception has been that Cotton Mather was not, as Calef put it, 'very forward' in carrying on witchcraft examinations, that in fact he counseled moderation throughout the trials. W.F. Poole saw this. So, among other, did Longfellow, Barrett Wendell, Samuel Eliot Morison, and Marion L. Starkey. But none of them seems to have recognized how very far the younger Mather went in attempting to protect the innocent, nor how thoroughly Calef lied about Mather's treatment of Margaret Rule. Starkey, for one, accepts calef's lies at face value and consequently makes Mather out to be little better than a fool." 1600
"the Boston merchant Calef in 1697 wrote: 'If it be true what was said at the Counselboard in answer to the commendations of Sir William, for his stopping the proceedings about Witchcraft, viz. That it was high time for him to stop it, his own Lady being accused; if that Assertion were a truth, then New-England may seem to be more beholden to the accusers for accusing of her, and thereby necessitating a stop, than to Sir William' (More Wonders, p. 154). "1599
"Robert Calef was a merchant in Bofton, and died in 1720. His 'More Wonders of the Invifible World' was firft publifhed in London, in a fmall quarto volume, in 1700, and reprinted at Salem in 1796 and in 1823; another edition was issued in boston in 1828. It is thought by fome, that it waws publifhed in England on account of the unwillingnefs of publifhers in Bofton to incur the wrath of the Mathers. But this is doubtful, as it was a common thing for authors to fend over their manufcripts to England to be publifhed. Cotton Mather, in his diary, - Alluding to the publifhing of Calef's 'More Wonders of the Invifible World,' - fays: 'He fent this vile volume to London to be publifhed, and the book is printed, and the impreffion is this week arrived here. The books that I have fent over into England, with a defign to glorify the Lord Jefus Chrift, are not publifhed, but ftrangely delayed; and the books that are fent over to vilify me, and render me incapable to glorify the Lord Jefus Chrift - thefe are publifhed. I fet myfelf to humble myfelf before th Lord under thefe humbling and wondrous difpenfations, and obtain the pardon of my fins, that have rendered me worthy of fuch difpenfations.; Dr. Eliot informs us that Dr. Increafe Mather - who was then prefident of Harvard College - ordered the wicked book of calef to be burnt in the college-yard, and that 'It is worthy of obfervation, that Hutchinfon - who was nearly related to the Maather family - speaks of R. Calef as man of fair mind, who fubftantiated his facts." 1601
Beside diving, there was much white magic involved in the medical practice of the time, which liberally employed both spells and charms. The most entertaining example of the latter to be found in the Salem documents has to do with what Robert Calef called 'the burning [of] the mare's fart.' Isaac Cummings, Sr., had a mare which fell suddenly sick - so suddenly that he thought she must have been ridden all night by witches. He sent for Thomas Andrews of Boxford to help cure the animal . . . 'My brother Andrews said he would take a pipe of tobacco and light it and butt it into the fundament of the mare. . . And then there arose a blaze from the pipe of tobacco which seemed to me to cover the buttocks of the said mare. The blaze went upward towards the roof of the bard and in the roof of the barn there was a great crackling, as if the barn would have fallen or been burnt." 1600
"There are many similar instances of the specters of innocent people appearing to afflict the citizenry once they were suspected of witchcraft. One of the more interesting involves John Willard, who had at first been a deputy-constable employed in arresting persons who had been complained of. According to Calef he became dissatisfied after being sent to arrest persons he believed innocent, and resigned his position. this immediately brought him under suspicion, and soon the afflicted girls were crying out against him." 1600
"Another opinion Mather deals with is that the troubles at Salem were caused by Devils, but not by witches . . . It was the explanation advanced by Thomas Brattle, the most serious critic of the Massachusetts establishment at the conclusion of the trials, and was later adopted not only by Brattle's disciple, Robert Calef, but also by Cotton Mather himself." 1600
"Robert Calef, in his More Wonders of the Invisible World, maintains that the court once glossed over a blatant falsehood. 'At the trial of Sarah Good one of the afflicted fell in a fit, and after coming out of it she cried out of the prisoner for stabbing her in the breast with a knife, and that she had broken the knife in stabbing of her. Accordingly a piece of the blade of a knife was found about her. Immediately, information being given to the court, a young man was called who rpoduced a haft and part of the blade, which the court having viewed and compared found to be the same. And upon inquiry the young man affirmed that yesterday he happened to break the knife, and that he cast away the upper part, this afflicted person then being present. The young man was dismissed, and she was bidden by the court not to tell lies, and was improved (after, as she had been before) to give evidence against the prisoners' ". 1600
"Phips and Increase Mather arrived in Boston with the new charter on May 14, 1692. . . But the witchcreaft situation complicated matters. The jails were filling up with suspects; according to Calef there were about a hundred of them by the end of May." 1600
"Calef says that Procter 'pleaded very hard at execution for a little respite of time, saying that he was not fit to die, but it was not granted.' . . .Calef also provides the most complete account of Burroughs' behavior:
'Mr. Burroughs was carried ina cart with the others through the streets of Salem to execution. When he was upon the ladder he made a speech for the clearing of his innocency, with such solemn and serious expressions as were to the admiration of all present. His prayer (which he concluded by repeating the Lord's Prayer) was so well worded, and uttered with such composedness, and such (at least seeming) fervency of spirit as was very affecting and drew tears from many (so that it seemed to some that the spectators would hinder the execution).' . .. Calef adds that the bodies were not properly buried. When Burroughs 'was cut down he was dragged by the halter to a hole, or grave, between the rocks, about two foot deep, his shirt and breeches being pulled off and an old pair of trousers of one executed put on his lower parts. He was so put in, together with Willard and carrier, one of his hand and his chin and a foot of one [of] them being left uncovered.' This last brutal detail may be flase, like some other parts of Calef's work, since excavations on Gallows Hill at the end of the eighteenth century produced evidence only of regular interment there . .. Judge Samuel Sewall's diary confirms Calef: 'Mr. Burrough[s] by his speech, prayer, protestation of his innocence, did much move unthinking persons, which occasions their speaking hardly concerning his being executed.' " 1600
Calef adds the brutal detail [re Giles Corey] that 'in pressing, his tongue being pressed out of his mouth, the sheriff with his cane forced it in again when he was dying.' "
"According to Calef:
'Giles Corey pleaded 'not guilty' to his indictment, but would not put himself upon trial by the jury (they having cleared none upon trial), and knowing there would be the same witnesses against him rather chose to undergo what death they would put him to." 1600
"it was Robert Calef (a person given to false insinuations, as we shall see) who suggested Lady Phips had been accused, and Cotton Mather called the suggestions 'a putrid slander.' " 1600
"History has not been fair to Cotton Mather. Indeed the majority of historians have, in complete defiance of the facts, presented him as a man who instigated witchcraft trials to satisfy his own list for fame and power. This view owes much to Robert Calef." 1600
"He had every right to call his account of her [Margaret Rule] afflictions Another Brand Plucked Out of the Burning. As with A Brand Plucked Out of the Burning, however, he made no attempt to publish. When, in 1700, Robert Calef published it without his consent, it was under circumstances that turned his accomplishment to gall and wormwood." 1600
"Some Miscellany Observations on our Present Debates Respecting Witchcrafts, in a Dialogue between S. and B. by P.E. and J.A. Philadelphia, Printed by William Bradford, for Hezekiah Usher. 1692. . .The author was the Reverand Samuel Willard of Boston; the pamphlet was attributed to him by Calef." 1600
"Robert Calef. Very little is known about him. He seems to have been a weaver, although he like to give himself the more dignified title of merchant. He was a frequenter of the Boston coffee houses, and he fancied himself a wit. It may very well have been Mather's trip to Salem which decided him on visiting Margaret Rule, but whatever his motives, he did visit her on September 13, only three days after her afflictions had begun, and he tells us that he took care to choose a night when Cotton Mather would be present. In crease was there as well,along with a number of other people. Calef went home that night and wrote an account of his experiences intended for circulation in manuscript, and in that manuscript he handled the Mathers very roughly. In fact, 'roughly' is scarecely the word for it. He handled them viciously and libelously. His basic technique was grotesquely false accusation - the 'big lie.' And incredibly, his lies hav stuck to the Mathers for more than two hundred and fifty years. I realize that in calling Calef a liar I differ from virtually every other person who has written about him since his own time. But the charge is not made recklessly. It can be proved, and from Calef's own words. Calef made essentially two charges against the Mathers. One was to suggest that in treating Margaret Rule they were not ministering to a case of bewitchment or even of possession, but catering to a fraudulent adolescent's sexual desires. Cotton Mather had apparently used laying-on-of-hands as a technique for bringing the girl out of her fits, and out of this fact Calef constructed the following. When the girl was in a fit, Calef said, Mather 'rubbed her stomach (her breast not covered with the bed-clothes) and bid othere do so too, and said it eased her. Then she revived . . . [Upon her falling into another fit] he again rubbed her breast, etc. About this time Margaret Perd, an attendant, assisted him in rubbing of her. The afflicted spake angrily to her, saying 'Don't you meddle with me,' and hastily put away her hand.'
I think that anybody reading these statements would assume that Margaret Rule had been naked, at least from the waist up, and that Mather had been rubbing her naked breast and belly, and encouraging others to do as well. That is what Calef intended his readers to think, but it is not the truth. Nevertheless Calef circulated it, with his other charges, and took care to show it to some of Mather's friends. Mather was outraged. He called Calef a liar in private, in public, from the pulpit, and even in court. He charged him with libel, but then apparently realizing that challenging a lie in court is only apt to give it greater currency, he did not appear to press charges. In the meantime Calef wrote him two insolent letters asking why he was upset. And finally, on January 15, 1694, Mather remembered the Puritan clergyman's obligations to debate, even with the reprobate, and answered Calef's charges in a letter. He said simply it was false 'that I rubbed Rule's sstomach, her breast not being covered . . . And to be somewhat plainer, [this charge] carried the face of a lie contrived on purpose . . to make people believe a smutty thing of me.' Calef answered 'that her breast was not covered.' He had only said it wasn't covered with the bed clothes. In short, Calef had employed the particularly vicious kind of lie that cannot be proved to be such because it depends on ambiguous construction. "1600
"He was not content, however, with his smutty insinuations against Cotton Mather. Later in his account he added that Mather 'put his hand upon her breast and belly (viz. on the clothes over her) and felt a living thing, as he said, which moved the father [Increase] also to feel, and some others.' To this assertion Mather replied that the spectral Imp had not been on the girl's body at all but 'upon the pillow, at a distance from her body.' Witnesses, he said, were ready to swear to it, and vindicate both his father and himself. But witnesses are of no use against the Robert Calefs of this world. Calef answered that his 'narrative [does not] say you felt the live thing on her belly . .. And as to your father's feeling for the live creature after you had felt it, if it were on the bed it was not so vary far from her.' . . . " 1600
"Calef's sescond major charge was that the Mathers had encouraged Margaret Rule to make accusations of witchcraft against her neighbors based on her hallucinations - that they were, in fact, accepting the evidence of the specters who appeared to her. He made this charge in a number of ways, but one example will suffice:
[Cotton Mather] Who is it that aflicts you?
[Rule} There is a great many of them.
(About this time the father questioned if she knew the specters. An attendant said if she did she would not tell . . . )
This reads, of course, as though the Mathers were encouraging the girl to make accusations against her will. Mather replied, correctly, that he had never permitted, much less encouraged, the accusation of anyone through specter evidence. It was true, he said, that he had asked Margaret Rule if she recognized the specters afflicting her. But 'the question was but an introduction tothe solemn charges that we then largely gave, that she should rather die than tell the names of any whom she might imagine that she knew.'
To this Calef replied with studied insolence plus his characteristic evasiveness:
'It seems improbable that a question should be put whether she knew [them] (or rather who they were), and at the same time to charge her, and that upon her life, not to tell. And if you had done so, I see but little good you could promise yourself or others by it . . . ' There is much more, but all of it fits the same pattern, so that Mather was quite correct in writing to calef that 'I do scarcely find any one thing in the whole paper, whether respecting my father or self, either fairly or truly represented.' " 1600
"In 1700 Calef published Mather's account of Margaret Rule as Part I of his More Wonders of the Invisible Word, and his own account and the account and the exchange of letters in Part II, thus demonstrating that he could not care less about the truth of the matter, but that he wanted the world to know he had been able to tell lies about the Mathers and get away with it. The renewal of the old libels in print freshly enraged Cotton Mather. But on reflection he decided that Calef had, for once, been too clever for his own good." 1600
"Cotton Mather . .. planned a two-part essay . . . Calef paid no attention at all to Mather's arguments and examples. Instead he scrawled a series of comments in the margin accusing Mather of trying to inculcate superstition. And so Mather gave up." 1600
"At the very time Hale wrote, Robert Calef was putting together More Wonders of the Invisible World. That book, much assisted by Upham andn other later historians, has done precisely what Hale feared - reduced the events at Salem to a contest between heroes and villains. More Wonders might better be called an anthology than a book. It is composed of five parts. Part one, as we have seen, is Cotton Mather's Another Brand Plucked Out of the Burning - his account of Margaret Rule. Par two has Calef's libelous account of the Mathers' treatment of Margaret Rule, the exchange of letters between Cotton Mather and himself, and a number of his other letters to Boston, which display as callous a disregard for the truth as his exchange with the younger Mather. Part three is a documentary account of the troubles between the Reverend Samuel Parris of Salem Village and his parishioners after the trials had ended, which culminated in the dismissal of Parris. Part four is a tiresome exchange of letters between Calef and an unknown person, possibly a Scottish clergyman named Stuart. Part five is an account of the Salem trials, and it is this part which has made Calef's book live. . . . What make part five of Calef's book remarkable is not his own prose but a series of documents which he prints in full . . Although Calef freely altered facts in his own writing, he does not seem to have seriously falsified documents, and these documents speak eloquesntly of the sufferings of the innocent at Salem." 1600
"Stoughton signed death warrants for all three, and for five persons previously condemned but not yet executed, including Elizabeth Procter. But the King's Attorney General gave as his opinion that there was no more reason to condemn these than some of those who had been cleared, and Governor Phips therefore ordered a reprieve . . . At this, Stoughton was, according to Phips, 'enraged and filled with passionate anger.' He refused to sit upon the bench for the remainder of the session, and Calef quotes him as speaking to the effect that 'We were in a way to havve cleared the land of these . . . Who it is that obstructs the course of justice I know not. The Lord be merciful to the country.' " 1600
"Although most of Massachusetts was doing penance in 1697, some persons remembered the witchcraft trials chiefly in order to take personal revenge. Calef was one of these; his More Wonders of the Invisible World was motivated first by his animus against the Maathers, and only secondly by his desire to put an end to witchcraft trials." 1600
"Robert Calef was granted leave, in 1715, to build his grist-mill in the Island by the lower Falls." 1337
"There is a note of impatience in the vote of 1686, that 'privilege is granted any one to build grist mills at the Falls near Goodman Rust's.' . . . At last, Robert Calef petitioned for liberty to build a grist mill at the Little Falls. It was granted, on March 8, 1714-15, and he built a mill. . . . Crompton sold robert Califfe 'my third part of Island and fulling mill and saw mill,' Feb. 2, 1714 (29:76). Robert Calef, clothier, conveyed the Island and mills to William Dodge of Wenham, Nov. 22, 1729 (54:169)." 1337
"Robert, bapt. 2 Nov. 1648; d. in Boston, Mass., 13 April 1719, aged 71 years. He emigrated to New England and was a mercahnt in Boston and was the author of 'More Wonders of the Invisible World'. it was formerly held that the book was written by his son Robert, but it is far more likely that the elder Robert was the author (The Register, vol XXX, p. 461). He is the ancestor of the New England Calefs. The late Matthew A. Stickney, Esq., of Salem, Mass, wrote a genealogy of the family, which, so far as has been ascertained, has not been published." 1597
"Abstract of the will of Robert Calfe [his uncle], of Stanstead, Suffolk, Clothier, Sicke 31 December, 1658 .
My friend John Daye, of Monks Eligh, County Suffolk, yeoman, and William Daye, of Stanstead, Webster, to be my executors and to have all messsuages, lands, etc. in Stanstead, for sch tyme as my brothers William Calfe and Edward Calfe shall happen to live, and to pay any rents and profits to them equally between them, reversion to the longest liver, remainder to Robert Calfe, youngest son of my brother Joseph Calfe, deceased, and to his heirs, but charged with payment of £60 to be paid to Joseph and Jerom, brothers of said Robert, and to all the children (not named) of my said brother William Calfe, born and to be born, to be divided equally among them (now under 21) . . .
Proved at London, 7 Oct. 1659, by John Daye and William Daye, joint executors named. Sworn by Commission.
P.C.C. 515 Pell." 1597
"Calef. - The undersigned [Matthew A. Stickney] has nearly ready for publication, a Genealogy of the Calef Family, embracing all of the name in the United States and British Provinces. He desires information of James Calef (b. in Boston, Nov. 7, 1714, son of Robert, the author) of Bath Town, in Bath County, in the Province of North Carolina, merchant. july 18, 1752 he appoints John Scollary, of Boston, brazier, his attorney, to sell land and houses in Boston, formerly his father Robert Calef's. Did he leave descendants?" 1602
"Robert Calef, author of "More Wonders of the Invisible World.' - Matthew A. Stickney, Esq., of Salem, who is preparing a genealogy of the Calef family, has, in his investigations, foun dreasons for doubting the modern statements which assign the authorship of the above-named book to Robert Calef, Jr. The work itself purports to be by Robert Calef, not Robert Calef, Jr. This, though not conclusive, is strong presumptive evidence. Then the age of the son is against the theory of his being the author. In 1693, when the writer of that book witnessed the afflictions of Margaret Rule, the son was but noneteen years old, while the father was gorty-five, a much more probable age. In 1700, when 'More Wonders' was published, the son was about twenty-six years old and the father fifty-two. The father was a merchant of Boston, and an owner of property there. It was not till after the publication of the book that he removed to Roxbury, where he died, Aprirl 13, 1719, aged 71; and where his gravestone may still be seen, with the prefix of 'Mr.' to his name, in the old burial ground. See Register, siv. 51.
Mr. Stickney has promised, for a future number of the Register, a full statement of the reasons for his opinion. Can our readers refer us to an earlier author than Whitman (History of the Ancient and Honorable artillery Company, Boston, 1842, p. 253), who attributes the work to the son? Is ther any evidence in early books or manuscripts that Calef, the author, was a young man? - Ed." 1603
"The person on whose body the inquisition was held was Robert Calef, Jr. [declared suicide by drowning]. He was a son of Robert Calef who died April 13, 1719, aged 71, according to the inscription on his gravestone printed in the Register, xiv, 52. The son was at one time supposed to be the author of 'More Wonders of the Invisible World.' (See Whitman's History of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, edition of 1842, p. 253; Savage's Gen. Dict., vol. i p. 329; S.G. Drakes's Witchcraft delusion, vol. ii. pp. xii to xxix, and pedigree; and Memorial History of Boston, vol. ii, p. 167.) Mr. Whitman was probably the first writer to attribute the authorship to the son. The name of Robert Calfe, Jr., is found on the rolls of the Artillery Company under the year 1710. Mr. Whitman took this person to be the author of More Wonders, in which opinion John Farmer seems to have concurred, though Farmer doubted whether Jr. was properly added (Whitman's History as above cited). Whitman confounds the two persons, giving the date of the father's death as that of the son.
Our writers and antiquaries seem to have followed Whitmann in atributing the work to the son till 1876, when the researches of Matthew A. Stickney in the genealogy of the Calef family led him to think that the father was the author (Register, xxx. 461). F.S. Drake, in his History of Roxbury, published in 1878, expresses the same opinion. An original letter of the author of More Wonders is preserved in the Lenox library, a fac-simile of which will be found in the Memorial History of Boston, vol. ii, p. 168." 1604
"Robert calef of Boston and His Descendants - In The Register, July 1959. p. 188, the unpublished record of the Calef family compiled by Matthew Adams Stickney (1805-1894) was mentioned, but the genealogy ,'Robert Calef of Boston, and Some of His Descendants', compiled by Mrs. Anne Calef Boardman, published first in the Essex Institute Historical Collections, vols. 74-76, and reprinted in an attractive book of 195 pages in 1940 was overlooked. Mrs. Boardman carefully revised and extended the late William Wallace Lunt's 'Robert Calef of Boston and Roxbury' (1928)." 1605
"According to Robert Calef, a later critic of the trials, Edward Bishop attended the Salem Town examinations on April 11, and while at the inn in the town subdued a 'very unruly' John Indian so that he became 'very orderly'. When John had a fit while the Villagers were returning home, Bishop struck him, commenting that he was certain 'he could cure them all' by the same means. As soon as Bishop left the group, Calef recorded, he was accused of being a witch." 1120
"It was probably during Nurse's trial (where that point was most relevant) that, Robert Calef later reported, 'one of the Accusers cried out publickly of Mr. Willard Minister in Boston, as afflicting of her.' . . . 'She was sent out of the Court,' Calef recorded, 'and it was told about she was mistaken in the person.' . . . The petty jury, returning after deliberations of unknown length, initially announced a verdict of not guilty. According to Calef, the accusers 'made a hideous out-cry' when they heard the outcome, and the judges also appeared 'strangely surprized.' " . . . Even after the verdict, the Nurse family did not abandon their campaign to save Rebecca. . . But, recorded Calef, 'the Accusers renewed their dismal outcries against her,' and 'some Salem Gentlemen' [Hathorne? Corwin? Gedney/] then persuaded him to rescind it. Robert Calef pronounced the original verdict 'remarkable,' but that was so only in the context of 1692." 1120
"Robert Calef focused his account on Burroughs, who, he said, 'made a Seech for the clearing of his Innocency, with such Solemn and Serious Expressions, as weree to the Admiration of all Present.' . . . But, Calef recorded, as soon as Burroughts was 'turned off' [hanged], Cotton Mather exhorted the crowd from horseback . . . "1120
"After these events in early to mid-September, Robert Calef later wrote, Dudley Bradstreet, the Andover justice of the peace who had issued arrest warrants for thirty to forty of his fellow townspeople, declined to continue ordering the apprehension of more suspects. Consequently, Calef reported, bradstreet was himself said to have bewitched nine people to death, and he was forced to flee for his own safety, along with his brother John, another local magistrate. Calef then attributed the end of the Andover accusations (as opposed to the last arrests there, which occurred sooner) to 'a worthy Gentleman of Boston,' who filed a £1,000 suit against the Andover afflicted for defamation, demanding legal proof of the validity of their allegations of witchcraft against him.
'From thence forward,' Calef declared, 'the Accusations at Andover generally ceased.' " 1120
In records from the Old Burial Ground, Roxbury, Mass. (at the corner of Washington & Eustis Streets):
"Some of the early inscriptions remaining are, - . . .
robert Calef, April 13, 1719, aged 71." 1184
In Inscriptions from the Old Burial Ground, Roxbury, Mass:
"Calef. - 'Here lyes buried the body of Mr. Robert Calef Aged Seuenty one years, died April The Thirteenth 1719. '
[the father of Robert, author of 'More Wonders of the Invisible World. - See Drake's Boston, p. 568.]" [This was from when it was thought Robert, Jr. wrote the book] 1606
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