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The document Francis has helped prepare for Danforth is "a sort of testament...the people signing it declare their good opinion of Rebecca, (Elizabeth Proctor), and Martha Corey". The paper has ninety-one signatures, and all of the signees are "landholding farmers, members of the church...(who've) known the women many years and never saw no sign they had dealings with the Devil". Danforth peruses the list, and is advised by Reverend Parris to summon the people who signed it to the court for questioning. Parris, with righteous zeal, calls the paper "a clear attack upon the court", and insinuates to Danforth that those who have affixed their signatures on the document are somehow discontented with Danforth, and the witch trials he is conducting in Salem.
Francis is appalled that Danforth, swayed by Parris, is considering following his advice and calling the signees before the court to testify. In securing their signatures, Francis "gave them all (his) word no harm would come to them for signing", and now he fears that he has "brought trouble on these people" (Act III, scene 1).
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