Public support and belief in the trials began to wane for several reasons. Respected ministers started to believe that some innocent people were being accused and executed for witchcraft primarily on unreliable spectral evidence. As the Reverend Increase Mather stated, "It were better than ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned." Also, as the accusations mounted, persons from all walks of life--rich and poor, beggar and merchant--were being accused. Additionally, the accused that originally confessed to witchcraft requested to recant their former confessions. With public confidence in the trials slipping, the cries of the afflicted were steadily ignored, and the accusations eventually stopped. See the Salem Witchcraft essay for a detailed explanation of the events, causes and aftermath of the Salem witch trials.
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Fowler, Samuel Page. An Account of the Life, Character, & C., of the Rev. Samuel Parris of Salem Village . William Ives and George W. Pease, 1857.
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