Cotton Mather Biography
Birthday: February 12, 1663 (Aquarius)
Born In: Boston
Cotton Mather was one of the most significant among the New England Puritan ministers who supported the old order of the clergy. He was also a well-known author and pamphleteer. He combined an interest for the modern science along with a strong belief in mysticism. He created the groundwork for the infamous Salem witch trials and was a vehement supporter of the trials and defended the use of spectral evidence in them by stating "the devils have sometimes represented the shapes of persons not only innocent, but also the very virtuous." His father opposed the trials and his son’s involvement in them. This created further ruptures in the already strained father-son relationship. Cotton Mather is also noted for the scientific legacy he left through his defense of the inoculation experiment in preventing smallpox. He confronted the superstition that inoculation is against the Puritan principles. In this regard, he communicated constantly with the noted scientist Dr. Zabdiel Bolyston. He wrote more than 450 books and pamphlets. Historians say that literature to Mather, was a way of personal redress. His literary works compelled America to recognize him as one of the most powerful religious leaders.