Robert Calef: Contribution as American Author

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      Unlike Mather, Robert Calef was a hard-headed cloth merchant who settled in Boston in 1688. He was an oasis of sanity during the witchcraft delusions in 1690s whereas Mathers and their members of the theory were promising ‘the witches’ during 1692. Calefy as a writer, was calmly collecting the materials for the attack on the proceedings. These he published in 1700 in the most ironic title Wonder of the Invisible World (1700) which accused Mathers and other members. In 1694, he was merely a skeptical observer of Cotton Mather’s exorcism of the supposedly possessed Margaret Rule. Being afraid that Mather would stir up another disaster by such carryings on circulated in script on the account of the procedure which implied that sexuality rather than morality was at the bottom of the disastrous affair. Margaret was being stroked, across her face and naked breast and for Mather, it was very soothing. For this, he was arrested for libel but the case was dismissed in the court of law. In following years, Calef attacked Catton’s further increase in suggesting that ministers are collecting the examples of the power of the visible world. When Calef s book appeared in 1700 Cotton wrote a slashing rejoinder-Some Few Remarks on Scandalous Book (1710). There is a story that Cotton burned it later in Harvard and neither response had much effect upon its circulation.

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