William Stoughton

(1631—1701) colonial official and preacher

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(1631–1701), probably born in England, graduated from Harvard (1650), studied at Oxford, and after losing his fellowship because of nonconformist ideas returned to Massachusetts (1662) to hold various political posts. He was on the council of Andros, but turned against the governor, and was later lieutenant-governor under Phips. After the latter's departure (1694), Stoughton was acting governor, except for one year, until his death. He presided at the Salem witchcraft trials and was largely responsible for their severe results. His views of a “Covenant-state” appear in the sermon New Englands True Interest (1670).

From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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