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Parris is mainly concerned that "there will be riot" in Salem because there are rumors that Andover (a nearby town) had overthrown the courts and "will have no part of witchcraft". He is worried that will happen in Salem too, especially because Abby and Mercy, the main accusers, skipped town. He thinks that they left because "they fear to keep in Salem any more", which means that they fear that people will turn against them.
So far, only disreputable people have been hung, and that morning, people with "great weight" were scheduled to die. Parris is afraid that if people like Rebecca Nurse get hung, in conjunction with Andover's rebellion and Abby's bail-out, that people will turn against him and the courts, and declare them frauds. So, he proposes that they should "postpone these hangin's for a time." Danforth refuses, but compromises by saying if Elizabeth can get John to confess, then maybe the people will be struck by a man of such "weight" actually confessing, and maybe John's confession will prompt the others to confess too.
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