CALEP, Robert, American merchant of Boston: b. about 1648; d. Roxbury, Mass., 13 April 1719. His fourth son, also named Robert, died in 1722 or 1723, aged about 41. One or the other of these men was the author of a re markable book on the witchcraft delusion in New England. The best authorities, notably James Savage and Win. F. Poole, ascribe it to the younger, who was about 23 when it ap peared. The book was entitled More Wonders of the Invisible World' (London 1700), the title being suggested by Cotton Mather's (Won ders of the Invisible World.' The substance of it had been circulated in manuscript several years previous to its publication and its mali cious attacks on Cotton and Increase Mather caused a bitter and life-long quarrel between the former and the author. The book abounds in malicious innuendoes, directly charges the Mathers with inciting and being in full sym pathy with the Salem tragedies, and accuses the Boston ministers, in their advice of 15 June 1692, of endorsing the Salem methods. When the book was printed and came back to Boston it was denounced and hated because it was an untruthful and atrocious libel on the public sentiment of Boston, and on the conduct of its ministers. It is said that Increase Mather
publicly burned it in the Harvard College yard. The animus of the book has been greatly mis understood, and the popular idea that Calef was a stalwart agent in putting an end to Salem witchcraft is both a myth and a delusion. Its historical value and the author's character have been greatly overrated. His personal history is a blank which the most assiduous investiga tion has never been able to fill, or even to sup ply with the most common details. It is not known where or when he was born, when he died or where he was buried, although he lived in Boston and his will is on file in the Suffolk records. His book has now become very rare and copies bring high prices in the book auc tions. It was reprinted at Salem in 1796, 1823 and 1861, and at Boston in 1828 and 1865.