|“||You're all right, Mather, for a damn Harvard man.||”|
— Dr. Wainwright to Cotton Mather
Throughout the Salem serie
In Book of Shadows, Cotton meets Dr. Wainwright at the tavern, where they discuss on mutual ways to see the origin of the pox. Samuel, at this point, confesses that he found very ironic the way Cotton described the "diabolical fetus" for a scientific journal and as Sir Isaac Newton has laughed uproariously when reading the article.
Later the two head to the hospital because Cotton wants to meet Isaac but here they discover that the boy has disappeared without bringing with him his money. On the other hand, Cotton turns out that when the doctor found Isaac beside him was the malum. Cotton Mather then realizes that someone paid Isaac to open the malum and cause plague.
- Mather: May I ask what you are doing?
- Dr. Wainwright: If you're capable of understanding the answer, yes. If not, I would advise watching in silence.
- Mather: I read at Harvard, sir.
- Dr. Wainwright: Theology, no doubt. What an extraordinarily useless and twisted branch of the tree of knowledge. Please forgive me. I can't seem to open my mouth today without insulting someone. Blame this infernal pox. It's got my mind twisted in in frustration.
- --- in Book of Shadows
- Both are interested in the sciences, although the purpose and the background are different.
- Samuel Wainwright is rational, atheist and skeptic.
- Cotton Mather is a fervent Puritan believer that sees the divine message in Nature.
- According to Adam Simon, Cotton is jealous and at the same time fascinated by Wainwright's medical and scientific education, because Cotton has always had to submit to the will of his father who believed the Bible the only source of explanations of nature.
- Wainwright decribes Cotton's theological education from Harvard as the most useless of the branches of the tree of knowledge.