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SAMUEL SEWALL (1652-1730)

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 733 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SAMUEL SEWALL (1652-1730), American jurist, was born at Horton, near Bishopstoke, Hants, England, on the 28th of March 1652. He was taken to New England in 1661; graduated at Harvard in 1671; studied divinity; and was resident fellow of Harvard in 1673-1674, and keeper of the college library in 1674. In 1683 he was deputy to the General Court for Westfield; from 1681 to 1684 he managed the only licensed printing press in Boston; and as a member of the Board of Assistants in 1684-1686 and in 1689-1690 he was ex efficio a judge of the Superior Court. He was a member of the Council in 1691-1725, and in 1692 he was made one of the special commissioners of oyer and terminer to try persons accused of witchcraft in Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex counties. This court condemned nineteen. Sewall in January 1697 stood in meeting while a bill was read in which he took " the blame and shame " of the " guilt contracted upon the opening of the late commission of oyer and terminer at Salem," and asked pardon. He was a judge of the Superior Court from 1692 to 1728, and in 1718-1728 was its chief justice; HI 1715-1728 he was judge of probate for Suffolk county. He died in Boston on the 1st of January 1730. Sewall has been called the " last of the Puritans " and his character is attractively portrayed in Whittier's Prophecy of Samuel Sewall. He was a strict Calvinist and opposed the growing liberal control of Harvard College; he contributed to the cause of Indian missions, built an Indian meeting-house (probably in Sandwich), was one of the commissioners of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England and Parts Adjacent, and for more than twenty years its secretary and treasurer. He wrote: The Selling of Joseph, a Memorial (1700), the first anti-slavery tract printed in America; with Edward Rawson, anonymously, The Revolution in New England Justified (1691; reprinted in Force's Tracts and in The Andros Tracts) ; Phaenomena quaedam apocalyptica ad aspectum novi orbis configurata (1697) and Talitha Cumi, or an Invitation to Women to look after their Inheritance in the Heavenly Mansions, both full of strange Biblical interpretation; and a journal begun in 1673, which, with his other papers, was bought by the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1869, and was published in vols. xiv.-xlviii. of its Collections. See the sketch in J. L. Sibley, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, ii. (1881), 345-371; an article by C. H. C. Howard in vol. xxxvii. (Salem, 1901) of the Essex Institute Historical Collections; N. H. Chamberlain, Samuel Sewall and the World He Lived In (Boston, 1897); and G. E. Ellis, An Address on the Life and Character of Chief Justice Samuel Sewall (Boston, 1885). His son, JOSEPH SEWALL (1686-1769), became pastor of the Old South Church in 1713, and was a powerful preacher who sided with Whitefield. A descendant, SAMUEL EDWARD SEWALL (1799-1888), a lawyer, was prominent in the anti-slavery move-ment, first as a Garrisonian and afterwards as a member of the Liberty and Free-Soil parties; he was counsel for a number of fugitive slaves, and after the Civil War he worked for the improvement of the legal status of women. See Nina M. Tiffany, Samuel E. Sewall: A Memoir (Boston 1898). SEWANEE, a village of Franklin county, Tennessee, about 15 M. E. of Winchester, the county-seat, and (by rail) 95 M. S.S.E. of Nashville. Pop. about 1200. Sewanee is served by the Tracy City branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis railway. It is on a spur of the Cumberland mountains about 2000 ft. above the sea and about r000 ft. above the surrounding country. It is a resort for sufferers from malaria and pulmonary complaints. There are mineral springs, coal mines and sand-stone quarries here, all on the " domain," about 10,000 acres, of the University of the South, a Protestant Episcopal institution of higher learning, founded in 1857, largely through the efforts of Bishop Leonidas Polk, but not opened until 1868. The principal buildings of the University, on a tract of loon acres, are all of Sewanee sandstone; they include Walsh Memorial (189o), with offices and college class-rooms; the Library (formerly Convocation Hall, 1886; remodelled 1901), with a tower copied from Magdalen College, Oxford; Thompson Hall (1883; enlarged 1901), with science lecture-rooms and laboratories; Hoff-man Memorial (1898), a dormitory; All Saints' Chapel (1909), a copy of King's College Chapel, Cambridge; a Gymnasium (1901); Quintard Memorial (1901), the home of the Sewanee Military Academy (until 1908 the Sewanee Grammar School), the preparatory department of the University; and St. Luke's Memorial (1878), the home of the Theological Department; and St Luke's Memorial Chapel (1907). The University is governed by a board of trustees consisting of the bishop, one clergyman and two laymen from each of 19 Protestant Episcopal dioceses in the Southern States.
End of Article: SAMUEL SEWALL (1652-1730)
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