Chapter 3: the third and fourth generation
When the eighteenth century opened, many signs of change were in the air. The third generation of native-born Americans
was becoming secularized.
The theocracy of New England
In the height of the tragic folly over the supposed “witchcraft” in Salem
, Increase Mather
and his son Cotton had held up the hands of the judges in their implacable work.
But before five years had passed, Judge Sewall
does public penance in church for his share of the awful blunder, desiring “to take the shame and blame of it.”
's cool pamphlet exposing the weakness of the prosecutors' case is indeed burned by Increase Mather
in the Harvard Yard
, but the liberal party are soon to force Mather
from the Presidency and to refuse that office to his son. In the town of Boston
, once hermetically sealed against heresy, there are Baptist and Episcopal churches — and a dancingmaster.