Remarkable Providences

(Redirected from Illustrious Providences)

Remarkable Providences is an essay by Increase Mather, first published in 1684 under the title An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences.[1][2]

Background edit

In 1681, when the agitation in the Massachusetts Bay Colony over the questions respecting the imperilled colonial charter was rapidly approaching a climax, and the public mind was already feverishly excited, the ministers sent out a paper of proposals for collecting facts concerning witchcraft.[2]

Synopsis edit

This resulted three years later (1684) in the production of a work by President Increase Mather of Harvard College, which was originally entitled An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences.[2] Into this book President Mather had gathered up all that was known or could be collected concerning the performances of persons supposed to be leagued with the Devil.[2] The book also contains a remarkable of sea-deliverances, accidents, apparitions, and unaccountable phenomena in general; in addition to the things more strictly pertaining to witchcraft.[3]

Legacy edit

Palfrey the historian believes that this book had an unfortunate effect upon the mind and imagination of President Mather's son, the Reverend Cotton Mather; and that it led him into investigations and publications supposed to have had an important effect in producing the disastrous delusion which followed three years later.[4]

Helen Rex Keller writes, "It is rather remarkable to learn from this work that modern spiritualistic performances — rappings, tippings, trances, second sight, and the like — were well known to the grave fathers of New England, although they unfortunately looked upon them as far more serious matters than do their descendants to-day."[2]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Hart; Leninger 1995.
  2. ^ a b c d e Keller 1917, p. 722.
  3. ^ Keller 1917, pp. 722–723.
  4. ^ Keller 1917, p. 723.

Sources edit

  • Mather, Increase (1689). Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions (New ed.). Boston, New England: R.P., sold by Joseph Brunning.
  • Hart, J.; Leininger, P. (1995). "Remarkable Providences". The Oxford Companion to American Literature. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-506548-0.


  • Keller, Helen Rex (1917). "Remarkable Providences". The Reader's Digest of Books. The Library of the World's Best Literature. New York, NY: The Macmillan Company. pp. 722–723.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.