Published: October 20, Most of the action focuses on the dramatic moment when his own granddaughter, Margaret, testified against him. Placed in the center of the painting, she kneels and points her finger directly at her grandfather, who responds by pleading his innocence with upraised arms. This gesture might reference the letter Margaret gave the court recanting her earlier testimony, which came too late to save her grandfather from the gallows. Oil on canvas. Gift of R. Ropes, Not me. Never me. Salem, Massachusetts. The witch trials. They hardly need introduction or summary. Those events, occurring more than three centuries ago, exert enormous power on our subsequent history. They are part and parcel of our lore, our mythology, our popular culture, evoked as a cautionary tale whenever hysteria, rumor, bad science and revenge combine to create a cold cocktail of false justice, absent empathy and vanished mercy. Pointed fingers beget pointed fingers. Full disclosure: I live in Sleepy Hollow Country. We always imagine a rivalry with Salem for Halloween capital of the world. Oak and pine. Gift of Mary R. Crowninshield, Look at that chair. Turned great chair owned by Philip and Mary English, about Oak and Pine. Gift of Mary Crowninshield, But whoever took that picture nailed it. As the ghost of a Witch Trial judge were still sitting there, examining one of the accused. Did you cause winged demons to be created and fly around the room…? Did you fly…? In , Philip English was one of the richest men in Salem, a merchant as opposed to the predominantly agrarian Puritans. His actual background was Huguenot. He was not, therefore, a Puritan. He had avoided his taxes, it was later said, and, as tax collector, let the taxes of his cronies slide, it was said. He was a tough businessman this part appears to be well-documented. In May, she was sent to a Boston jail to await trail. People claimed to have seen ghosts of men English had murdered. English got wind of his impending arrest. And this is where the chair comes in, with torture of a different kind, the torture of man sitting in it, fearful for his wife and for himself, wondering what to do and how to do it.
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