Cotton Mather was a religious man, who was blamed for the Salem witch trials. However that result was not what he wanted. He had a vision in 1686 the “the whole Plat of the Devil against New England in every branch of it…” He concluded that witchcraft and devil followers were common place in New England. This included enchantments and possessions. This evil had to be rooted out.
However Mather was interested in reform and repentance. The witch trials resulted in people being executed. In Salem over 20 were killed. Many of those killed were good community members. However, Mather did not intend for people to be executed.
As a result of his vision and publication, “Memorable Providence Relating to Witchcraft and Possession” the witch trials were started. However the author of the book stood firmly against the death penalty, urging prayer and fasting instead.