By Richard Francis.
The Salem witch trials in 1692, now a byword for terrible injustice, were seen then as a battle between God and Satan for the souls of the new Americans.
But one of the trial judges, Samuel Sewall, became so troubled by what he had helped to do that he made a remarkable public apology.
His extraordinary act of recantation five years later was a turning point in his own life, and also, believes writer Richard Francis, marked the moment when modern American values and attitudes came into being.
Read by Richard Mitchley.