Sewall, Samuel

Sewall, Samuel

biographical name

(born March 28, 1652, Bishopstoke, Hampshire, Eng.—died Jan. 1, 1730, Boston, Mass.) British-American colonial merchant and jurist. He immigrated to America as a boy and became manager of the New England colonial printing press (1681–84) and a member of the governor's council (1684–1725). In 1692 he was appointed to preside at the Salem witch trials, in which 19 people were executed. Later admitting the error of the court's decision, he stood silently in the Old South Church in Boston in 1697 while his confession of error and guilt was read aloud. His three-volume Diary (published 1878–82) provides a view of New England Puritan life.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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