William Stoughton

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William Stoughton

William Stoughton (30 September 16317 July 1701) was the Puritan judge in charge of what has come to be known as the Salem Witch Trials, first as the Chief Magistrate of the Special Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692, and then as the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature in 1693.


  • God sifted a whole nation that he might send choice grain over into this wilderness.
    • Election Sermon at Boston, April 29, 1669. Compare: "God had sifted three kingdoms to find the wheat for this planting", Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Courtship of Miles Standish, iv.

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