Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Hawthorne, Nathaniel
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HAWTHORNE, Nathaniel, author, b. in Salem, Mass., 4 July, 1804; d. in Plymouth, N. H., 18 May, 1864. The family name was spelled Hathorne until the author inserted the w. In 1630 his ancestor, William, at the age of twenty-three, came from Wiltshire, England, with John Winthrop in the “ Arbella,” and settled in Dorchester, Mass. In 1636 he went to Salem, which gave him large grants of land to induce him to remove, holding such a citizen to be “a public benefit.” He was a strict Separatist, a man of strong character and great energy, and in the little village, which was the grimmest of all the Puritan communities, William Hathorne was as stern and almost as conspicuous a figure as John Endicott. His descendant says that “he had all the Puritanic traits, both good and evil”; and it is easy to fancy the fine, strong roots of the author's genius stretching backward and feeding upon that rank soil of early Puritanism, and transmuting its dark and acrid juices into the weird and exquisite blossoming of the tales and romances. William died in 1681. His son, John, like his father, was a persecutor of Quakers, and he was the chief judge in the witch trials at Salem, in which his treatment of the victims was harsh and cruel. John died in 1717. His son, Joseph, was a quiet farmer, and after him came what Hawthorne calls “a dreary and unprosperous condition of the race.” The men followed the sea. Joseph's son, Daniel, commanded a privateer, and Daniel's son, Nathaniel (father of the author), was captain of a trading-vessel. He married Elizabeth Clark Manning, and died in Surinam in 1808. Nathaniel, the second of three children, was their only son. He was born in a plain wooden house near the wharves, in which his mother wholly secluded herself after her husband's death. From the earliest days, Salem had been one of the most sombre of the old New England towns; “its long and lazy street,” Hawthorne says, “lounging wearisomely along the whole extent of the peninsula, with Gallows hill and New Guinea at one end and a view of the almshouse at the other.” In the beginning of the century it was an important port for the India trade. But in Hawthorne's youth it began to decline with the other New England sea-ports, and in 1850 he said of the pavement around the custom-house, that it “has grass enough growing in its chinks to show that it has not, of late days, been worn by any multitudinous resort of business.” Hawthorne was “a pleasant child,” his sister said, “quite handsome, with golden curls.” But the austere family tradition, the melancholy temperament of his taciturn father, the secluded widowhood of his mother, the decaying old seaport of witch-haunted memories in which he lived, impressed profoundly the imagination of the solitary boy, whose “native propensities,” as he said of himself, “were toward fairy-land.” At the age of seven he was placed by his uncle Manning at the school of Dr. Joseph E. Worcester, the lexicographer, and, being severely injured while playing foot-ball, he was confined to the house for two years, where Dr. Worcester still taught him, and where he acquired the habit of reading. His books were the English classics. He pored over Spenser and “Pilgrim's Progress,” Froissart's “Chronicles” and Clarendon's history, and he was fascinated by the “Newgate Calendar.” In 1818 his mother removed with her family to Raymond, on Sebago lake, in Maine, to a house owned by her brother, where Hawthorne remained for a year. It was a wild country, with scattered clearings, and “nine tenths of it primeval woods.” Here he lived in perfect freedom, he says, “like a bird of the air.” But here, also, roaming the woods alone or skating or “camping out,” his habit of solitude was confirmed. In 1819 he was back again in Salem, fitting for college, and quite sure that the happiest days of his life were gone. Like other boys about entering college, he speculated upon his future vocation, and says in a letter that he would not be a minister, nor a doctor, nor a lawyer, and that there was nothing left but to be an author. There is an apocryphal diary of those days, which was published in the Portland “Transcript” in 1871 and 1873 by the person who professed to own it, but which Hawthorne's son, Julian, dismisses very curtly as of no importance. In August, 1820, Hawthorne issued in Salem the first number of a little weekly paper called the “Spectator,” which was discontinued in the middle of September. In 1821 he entered Bowdoin college, Brunswick, Me., “a plain country college.” then only twenty-five years old. Henry W. Longfellow, John S. C. Abbott, George B. Cheever, and Horatio Bridge were his classmates, and Franklin Pierce, afterward president, was in the class before him. Bridge and Pierce were his intimate friends, and in the dedication of the “Snow Image” Hawthorne pleasantly lays upon Bridge the responsibility of his literary career.
The year that he entered college was the year in which a distinctive American literature began to appear. Bryant published in that year his first volume of poems, Cooper his “Spy,” Dana the “Idle Man,” and Percival his first volume of poems, which Edward Everett hailed as the harbinger of a golden day. Halleck's and Drake's “Croakers” were already familiar, and the next year Miss Sedgwick's “New England Tale” was published. There is no evidence that Hawthorne was aware of this literary avatar and promise; there is no trace of any influence from it upon his own works. In college he was distinguished only for his themes. He wrote indifferent verse, and read Scott's novels, and Godwin's, which he “liked next to Scott,” and, without the fear of the stern old Puritan Hathornes before his eyes, and to the alarm of the college authorities, he sometimes played cards and showed the natural tastes of vigorous youth. He was graduated in 1825, returned to Salem, and became an absolute recluse, imprisoned, as he said, “in a lonely chamber,” where, however, he felt afterward that his mind and character were formed, and in which he said “fame was won.” He read and wrote by day and night, seldom going out except at twilight for long, lonely walks along the sea-shore and through the dusky streets of the town. For twelve years this was his life, and, although constantly writing and publishing, he was, in his own words, “the obscurest man of letters in America.” In 1826 he published, anonymously and at his own expense, a novel entitled “Fanshawe.” It made no impression, but it has traces of his characteristic power and his admirable literary style. Only a few hundred copies were sold, and he endeavored successfully to suppress it. But it is included in the latest editions of his works. The failure probably affected him deeply, for he had the generous thirst for fame which belongs to genius. He was not, however, wholly disheartened, and a little later he completed a series of “Seven Tales of My Native Land,” some relating to witchcraft and some to piracy and the sea. He found a publisher with difficulty, and there were such delays in publishing that Hawthorne withdrew the manuscript and burned it. But, however sobered by sharp experience, his good genius would not suffer him to abandon her. Of this time he said to a friend afterward: “I passed the day in writing stories, and the night in burning them.” The solitude and seclusion of his life were due not only to his temperament and to disappointment by his literary failures, but to the social ostracism of Democrats in the little town, which was a stronghold of Federalism and the very seat of the Essex junto, the aulic council of the Federal party. Hawthorne's father had been a Democrat, and the son, with no taste for politics, naturally accepted the paternal party connection, and had no disposition to dispute any penalty attaching to it. In 1830 he travelled with an uncle in the valley of the Connecticut. The next year he was in New Hampshire, and about this time he wandered as far as Ticonderoga and Niagara. But the excursions were brief. He was soon again in his solitary room, and, no longer attempting the publication of a book, he was content to send short stories and sketches and essays to the Salem “Gazette” and the “New England Magazine.” He sent some manuscripts, including several of the “Twice-told Tales,” to Samuel G. Goodrich, the editor of the Boston “Token and Atlantic Souvenir,” who wrote to him in January, 1830, that he would try to induce a publisher to undertake the work, and offered him $35 for the first publication of the “Gentle Boy” in the “Token.” Hawthorne assented to the publication of any of the tales, and in May, 1831, Mr. Goodrich published four of them. Although these tales and sketches, in the “Token” and elsewhere, were received without general acclamation, there were some sagacious readers who perceived the rare and subtle genius of the author, and among these were three accomplished young women of Salem, Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody and her sisters, who heard, to their surprise and pleasure, that the writer was the son of their neighbor, the widow Hathorne. The acquaintance of the families followed, and the second sister, Sophia, a woman of singular accomplishment, of the most poetic nature and charming character, afterward became Mrs. Hawthorne.
Meanwhile, in 1836, Mr. Goodrich, who evidently recognized the promise of the young author, engaged him at a salary of $500, of which he received but little, to edit the “American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge,” a work that belonged to the Bewick publishing company, of which Goodrich was manager. Hawthorne also compiled for the company a “Universal History,” from which sprang the famous works of Peter Parley, and for which he received $100. His gains were very small, although his modest and abundant labors were gradually winning appreciation. In 1835 the notices in the London “Athenaeum” of his tales published in the “Token” were so encouraging that he began to think of issuing them in a volume. His faithful friend Bridge warmly urged the publication, and assumed the pecuniary risk, and early in 1837 the first series of “Twice-told Tales” was published by the American stationers' company in Boston. Hawthorne sent a copy to Longfellow, whose “Outre Mer” had charmed him, regretting that they had not been more intimate in college, and Longfellow reviewed the book with enthusiasm in the “North American Review.” Hawthorne afterward suggested to Longfellow the story of “Evangeline,” and greeted the poem as the best of the poet's works. Longfellow was very sensible of Hawthorne's generosity, and the warm friendship of the two authors and neighbors was never disturbed. Six or seven hundred copies of “Twice-told Tales” were sold, and the book was favorably noticed, though the quality of the author's genius was not perceived. It was generally treated as a mere pleasant talent. But those tales reveal a power of imagination, a spiritual insight and knowledge of the obscurer motives of human nature, and they are told with a felicity and repose of manner that have not been surpassed in our literature. They have often, indeed, a sombre tone, a fateful sense of gloom, which is half weird, sometimes almost uncanny, but of which the fascination is irresistible. Their publication marked a distinct epoch in American literature. In 1837 Hawthorne visited his friend Bridge in Maine, and in 1838 he began to write for the “Democratic Review,” which was edited by John L. O'Sullivan. He was now engaged to Miss Peabody, and began to think of a provision for marriage, and in January, 1839, George Bancroft, the historian, who was collector of customs at Boston, appointed him a weigher and gauger, with a salary of $1,200.
Two years later, when the Whigs came in, he was dismissed from his place. His literary work was suspended during his official term, and he is generally supposed to have been weary of its routine. But he said that he enjoyed the society of sailors, who knew him and treated him only as a government officer, and not as an author. It released him from self-consciousness. In 1841 the first part of “Grandfather's Chair” was published in Boston and New York. It is a series of admirable sketches for children of New England history which always pleased his imagination. In April of this year, also, he joined the company of Boston scholars and educated men and women who began at Brook Farm, an estate of two hundred acres in West Roxbury, the experiment of an Arcadia, in which every member should do his share of the necessary manual labor and so secure to all the desirable mental leisure. But with the “transcendental movement” from which the enterprise sprang Hawthorne had little sympathy, and he was really out of the current of characteristic life at the farm. The association was one of the expressions of the remarkable intellectual and moral renaissance of that period in New England of which Ralph Waldo Emerson is the most striking representative, and which has deeply influenced the national life. But to Hawthorne, as his “American Note-Book” shows, the sylvan poem was very prosaic. “I went to live in Arcady,” he said to a friend, “and found myself up to the chin in a barn-yard.” There was indeed no stouter manual worker than he. He toiled sometimes for sixteen hours a day, and he invested $1,000, his savings from the custom-house, in the enterprise at Brook Farm, hoping to be married and to find a home there. His modesty and sincerity, and an indefinable manliness of nature, fascinated his associates. But the very genius of the place was social, and he always carried solitude with him. Like his “Miles Coverdale,” he was a spectator, not a participant. Indeed, in all places and under all circumstances his native propensity toward fairy-land was so strong that actual life seemed to be spectral to him. Naturally, Brook Farm was essentially uncongenial, yet his “Blithedale Romance” is the only permanent memorial in any form of art of that romantic, earnest, and humane endeavor for a higher form of human society.
Hawthorne was married in July, 1842, and went immediately to the old manse in Concord, Mass., on Concord river and close by the site of the old bridge, of which Emerson's lines, engraved upon the monument, tell the story:
|“||Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.”
The old manse is one of the most historic houses in the country. It is a gambrel-roofed structure of wood, erected in 1765. From the window of the little study at the back of the house, on the second floor, the Rev. William Emerson had seen the Revolutionary battle of which his narrative is the earliest and most authentic. In the same room his grandson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote “Nature,” and Hawthorne many of the tales that were first published in the “Democratic Review,” and were then collected in the “Mosses from an Old Manse.” In this home Hawthorne devoted himself wholly to literature and happiness. “For, now being happy,” he says in the delightful introduction to the “Mosses,” “I felt as if there were no question to be put.” The contrast with his late life, either in the custom-house or at Brook Farm, was refreshing to him. The manse was separated from the country road by a straight avenue of black ash-trees, and as he entered it with his bride, “the wheel-track leading to the door, as well as the whole breadth of the avenue, was almost overgrown with grass,” as befitted the path to Hawthorne's door. He resumed his old solitary habits, and was seen by his neighbors only upon his daily walks to the village post-office, about a mile away. Again he was a bird of the night, and after dusk he unmoored his boat at the foot of the garden and paddled alone about the winding stream, in a glimmering realm that seemed this native fairy-land. Sometimes he took a whole holiday with the poet Ellery Channing, almost the only neighbor whom he saw, and sometimes also Emerson or Henry Thoreau came to the manse. But their visits were few, for Hawthorne's reserve was invincible to both of them. Margaret Fuller, whose sister Ellery Channing had married, also came; but the sympathy of the visitor and the host was not complete. There is no doubt of the happiness of these days, in which Hawthorne's eldest child was born and “Rappaccini's Daughter” was written. His income was drawn mainly from payments for the stories in the “Democratic Review” — payment indeed which was not large and not always prompt. But housekeeping at the manse was very simple and frugal, and in the occasional absences of his wife, Hawthorne often remained entirely alone or with some friend as a guest, and then housekeeping became a picnic, and they cooked the dinner and washed the dishes together with an ease and glee that were natural to Brook-Farmers. Among the mosses gathered in 1843 were the “Celestial Railroad,” “The Procession of Life,” “Fire Worship,” “Buds and Bird Voices,” and “Roger Malvin's Burial,” all of which appeared in the “Democratic Review.” “Rappaccini's Daughter” was published in the “Review” in 1844, and in 1845 the second series of “Twice-told Tales” was issued in Boston. This series begins with the four “Legends of the Province House.” tales specially characteristic of Hawthorne's genius, and they instantly added another romantic glamour to the famous Revolutionary town of Boston. In the same year Hawthorne edited the “African Journal” of his friend Bridge, of the navy, for publication as a book, and the “Papers of an Old Dartmoor Prisoner” for the “Democratic Review.” The accompanying illustration represents the old manse occupied by the Hawthornes.
He was now forty years old, and was recognized as one of the most original of American authors. He had made his way noiselessly by sheer force of genius. There had been no sudden and brilliant “sensation,” but the public had become gradually aware of the presence of a new literary force, the full scope and character of which were not as yet apprehended. He was still compelled, as he wrote in 1844, “to work hard for small gains.” But the publishers were on the scent. In October, 1845, he was urged by Wiley and Putnam, of New York, to give them a volume of tales for their “Library of American Books,” and also a history of witchcraft, which had been suggested to him as a promising subject. This work, however, he did not attempt. But in 1846 Wiley and Putnam published, in two volumes, as the seventeenth number of their pretty paper-covered series, “Mosses from an Old Manse.” Besides the tales already mentioned as written in 1843, there were included in the volumes “The Birthmark,” “Young Goodman Brown,” “The New Adam and Eve,” “The Christmas Banquet.” “Drowne's Wooden Image,” “The Artist of the Beautiful,” and other tales no less striking and imaginative. They are of the same general character as the “Twice-told Tales,” but they have the air of larger experience, although Hawthorne's work is of singularly uniform excellence. His genius was early matured, and his sinewy, simple, lucid style was never youthful in the sense of crudity, rhetorical excess, or restlessness. But his imagination was richer and his insight deeper. In a letter to Longfellow in 1837, after the publication of the “Twice-told Tales,” he says that he lies under the disadvantage of lack of material from the narrow conditions of his life and want of experience. But the custom-house, Brook Farm, Concord, and marriage had brought him out of the old Salem routine, and he was in the ripeness of his power when the “Mosses” were published. In comparison with his larger works, they now seem like the rosy blossoms in his apple-orchard in May, compared with the rounded fruit on the trees in October — “another, yet the same.”
Hawthorne's income, however, was now so diminished — for he had lost his venture at Brook Farm, and the “Democratic Review” had failed, largely in debt to him — that he left the old manse, after occupying it for nearly four years, and, returning to Salem, was appointed surveyor in the custom-house in 1840. Here he remained for three years, of which he has told the story in the introduction to “The Scarlet Letter.” In this introduction he speaks of himself and others with a freedom that might seem to be remarkable in a man so shy. But happily, in writing, his genius had full play without the constraint arising from a sense of the personal presence of others. This introduction is a delightful fragment of autobiography, but the candor with which he spoke of Salem and of his official associates was warmly resented. It was evidently thought to be a little parricidal in a son of Salem to speak so plainly of the town and the townspeople. But Hawthorne replied that he owed nothing to a town that had permitted its son — and he might have said one of its most illustrious children — “to be deliberately lied down,” which he felt to have been his fate at the time of his official removal. The three years of his Salem surveyorship have no record in the “American Note-Books.” But during this time he wrote the first draft of “The Scarlet Letter,” a longer tale than any of the earlier works, which proved to be so sombre that he thought it wiser to publish with it some sketches afterward issued with the “Snow Image.” But his friend, James T. Fields, the publisher, on reading the manuscript, was so profoundly impressed by it that Hawthorne took heart, completed the work, and in the spring of 1850 the romance was published. The first edition of 5,000 copies was sold in two weeks. But great as was the publisher's admiration of the work, he distrusted its popular success, and the type was distributed. It was, however, immediately reset and stereotyped. The book was at once reprinted in England, and its reception in both countries was enthusiastic. The author had made the “ten-strike” of which, in speaking of the enthusiasm of his wife and his publisher, he had humorously written to his friend Bridge, and from being the obscurest of American authors he had suddenly become one of the most renowned. In the preface to the “Marble Faun” he said afterward that “no author without a trial can conceive the difficulty of writing a romance about a country where there is no shadow, no antiquity, no mystery, no picturesque and gloomy wrong, nor anything but a commonplace prosperity in broad and simple daylight.” But his early works were a series of sketches of just such romances, and “The Scarlet Letter” was a romance drawn from the shadow and mystery and bareness of the earliest civilized life of that country, a tale which made its gloom marvellously picturesque and pathetic, and proved that American genius could find no more prolific subjects for imaginative treatment in literature than those that the annals of its own country could furnish. “The Scarlet Letter” interprets with profound perception and sympathetic delicacy and skill the old New England spirit and character and life which have powerfully influenced the development of American civilization. As a study of the solitary human soul involved in sin and struggling with its own weakness and sophistry, seeking in the darkness of concealment the succor that could be found only in the full light of penitence, the romance is a remarkable addition to imaginative literature, and distinctively characteristic of Hawthorne's genius.
In the summer of 1850, after the publication of “The Scarlet Letter,” Hawthorne removed to Lenox, in Berkshire co., Mass., and occupied, as he said, “the ugliest little old red farm-house you ever saw,” on the bank of the pretty lake known as “The Stockbridge Bowl,” with a southward vista of high hills. He was now one of the most famous authors of his time, but he secluded himself here as elsewhere, and almost his only companion was Herman Melville, the author of “Typee,” who lived at Pittsfield. In the old red farm-house Hawthorne wrote “The House of the Seven Gables,” which was published early in 1851, and which he preferred to “The Scarlet Letter,” thinking it more characteristic of his mind and more proper and natural for him to write. It is certainly equally characteristic with “The Scarlet Letter,” for it is another presentation of what Melville called the “tragic phase of humanity,” which Hawthorne instinctively treated with extraordinary subtlety and power. The canvas of “The House of the Seven Gables” is larger than that of “The Scarlet Letter.” There are more figures, and they are more finely elaborated, and there is a cheerful play of humor and sunshine. Phoebe, Hepzibah, Judge Pyncheon, and Clifford are masterly delineations, like portraits of Titian and Rembrandt and Raphael which do not fade with time. The popular success of “The House of the Seven Gables” was even greater than that of its predecessor. The sunshine of prosperity seemed to quicken the fertility of the author's genius, and in the summer of 1851 he wrote “The Wonder Book,” a charming retelling for children of some of the classical myths, and in the same year the “Snow Image and Other Twice-told Tales” was made ready, but it was not published until 1852. In the autumn of 1851 the roving author, like a Bedouin poet, struck his tent again, and removed to West Newton, near Boston, where he wrote “The Blithedale Romance.” This tale was suggested by the life at Brook Farm, its motives, and some of its characters. But, as Hawthorne said, it must not be read “as if it had anything to do with Brook Farm, which, essentially, it has not, but merely for its own story and character.” It is, as Mr. Lathrop says, the story of a man dominated by a theory, and, by blind abandonment to it, ruining himself and those who trust him. But upon this simple motive the author plays with his familiar and marvellous skill. The sweet and shadowy Priscilla, the superb Zenobia, the intensely self-concentrated and powerful Hollingsworth, old Moodie, and the placid, solitary observer, Miles Coverdale, are drawn at once with airy delicacy and incisive force. The final scene of the romance was suggested by a melancholy incident in Concord, which deeply affected Hawthorne's imagination, the suicide by drowning of a farmer's daughter, an interesting girl whose mind had grown morbid in the melancholy consciousness of the hopeless difference between the circumstances of her life and her educated tastes and refined accomplishments. Her body was found at night, and raised by the light of torches, Hawthorne giving his strong arm to the painful service. The success of “The Blithedale Romance” was not less than that of the other tales.
In the summer of 1852 Hawthorne removed to Concord, where he had bought a house which he called “The Wayside,” and which he said Henry Thoreau told him was once occupied by a man who thought he should never die. This fancy was the motive of “Septimius Felton.” In August, 1852, he published a campaign life of Franklin Pierce, his old college friend, a candidate for the presidency. Hawthorne was very loth to undertake it; but Pierce pressed him, and he could not refuse. Although a Democrat, Hawthorne took no active part in politics, and the political situation of the country merely irritated him. He had no sympathy with the anti-slavery controversy, and he could not affect a sympathy that he did not feel. The controversy, however, was so earnest and radical, absorbing every other public interest, dissolving and reorganizing political parties, that Hawthorne's position deeply pained many of his friends. But he looked upon the contest with an air of remote indifference, which was characteristic and sincere, but none the less strange and inexplicable to ardent combatants. His friend Pierce was elected. During the subsequent winter Hawthorne wrote the “Tanglewood Tales,” a second series of the “Wonder Book,” and in the spring of 1853, after much reluctance upon his part to take office, he was appointed to the consulate at Liverpool, the most lucrative place in the gift of the president. In the summer of 1853 he sailed for Liverpool with his family. He lived in England for four years, and the record of his English life is found in the “English Note-Books” and “Our Old Home.” At the end of 1857 he went to France, Switzerland, and Italy, returning to England in 1859. His “French and Italian Note-Books” contain the story of his travels. In Italy he sketched the tale of “The Marble Faun,” which he completed in England, and it was published simultaneously in Boston and London in 1860, the English edition bearing the title “Transformation.” It was seven years since his last publication of a romance, and he had now laid the scene in Italy and not in New England. But the genius of the story-teller was unchanged. There are the same vast, shadowy suggestion, the fascination of the problem of moral guilt, the interaction of the strongest individualities; there are passion, sorrow, human feeling, a solemnity in human life, all wrought into a love-tale which is told with the power that throws upon the reader a glamour of enchantment.
Hawthorne returned to the United States just as the fierce anti-slavery controversy was deepening into war. In 1857 he had written to Bridge that he sympathized with the northern feeling, but his sympathy has still the air of remoteness. After the war began he wrote: “I approve the war as much as any man; but I don't quite see what we are fighting for.” He was still a spectator, not an actor. A little later he despaired of the restoration of the Union, and in the spring of 1862 he went to Washington and wrote a paper for the “Atlantic Monthly,” called “Chiefly about War-Matters.” The tone of this paper was half-bantering, a tone perfectly natural to the man whom the situation harassed and angered as much as it pained. But the editor felt that such a tone would jar harshly upon the public mind, and made excisions, which were described good-humoredly in foot-notes written as if by the editor, but by the author himself.
Just before the visit to Washington he wrote to Bridge that he had begun another romance. This was probably “Dr. Grimshawe's Secret.” He concluded some papers begun in England, and contributed to the “Atlantic Monthly,” which in 1863 were issued with others in a volume called “Our Old Home.” This he dedicated to his friend Pierce; but public feeling was so strong against the ex-president that his publishers begged the author not to imperil thus the success of the book. Hawthorne replied that “if the public of the north see fit to ostracize me for this, I can only say that I would gladly sacrifice a thousand or two dollars rather than retain the good-will of such a herd of dolts and mean-spirited scoundrels.” This was said without any passion. While the matter was still pending, on 20 July, 1863, he wrote to a friend: “The dedication can hurt nobody but my book and myself. I know that it will do that, but am content to take the consequences rather than go back from what I deliberately judge it right to do.” In the same letter he says that the war should have been avoided, and that the best settlement would be a separation “giving us the west bank of the Mississippi and a boundary-line affording as much southern soil as we can hope to digest into freedom in another century.” The dedication was published, and neither the book nor the author was ostracized. The title “Our Old Home” expresses the strong filial feeling of the genuine son of New England for the old England of his ancestors, a feeling very natural and common among the truest Americans. The book is a series of shrewd and delightful descriptive sketches, with some frank criticisms upon English life, which were not altogether relished in England. The first part of “The Dolliver Romance” was published in the “Atlantic Monthly,” in July, 1864, but the author had died more than a month before, and some unrevised parts were found among his papers. The motive of the tale is earthly immortality, which was always attractive to Hawthorne. It appears in “Dr. Heidegger's Experiment,” in “Twice-told Tales,” and there is a hint of it in the “Virtuoso's Collection.” The legend of an indelible bloody footprint he heard first in 1855, at Smithell's Hall, Lancashire, England. This led to the sketch of the “Ancestral Footstep” and to “Dr. Grimshawe's Secret,” and the more elaborate study of “Septimius Felton.” “The Dolliver Romance” was the ultimate form of the romance founded on the elixir of life. “Septimius Felton” was deciphered from the loose manuscripts by his eldest daughter Una, with the assistance of Robert Browning, and published in London and Boston in 1871, and “Dr. Grimshawe's Secret,” an incomplete sketch, was published by his son Julian in 1882. In the spring of 1864 Hawthorne's health failed rapidly. He was deeply depressed, and felt that his work was done. In April he went to Philadelphia with his publisher, William D. Ticknor, whose sudden death while they lingered in that city greatly shocked the enfeebled author. By one of the coincidences that always profoundly impressed Hawthorne, and which in his own case is very pathetic, the sudden death of his friend Ticknor upon a journey with him prefigured his own death upon a similar journey with another friend. In May he went with his friend, ex-President Pierce, to the White mountains. On the 18th they reached Plymouth, N. H., and in the night and in his sleep Hawthorne died. On the 24th of May, 1864,
|“——— that one bright day
In the long week of rain,”
he was buried in Sleepy Hollow cemetery, Concord. The graves of Emerson and Thoreau are very near Hawthorne's. The historic and beautiful town of Concord has a twofold title to renown. It was the scene of the first armed and orderly resistance to British aggression on 19 April, 1775, and it was the home and it is the burial-place of Emerson and Hawthorne. The genius of both, although very unlike, was among the most exquisite blossoms of the New England Puritan stock. A fanciful analogy may be traced, perhaps, between the sunny and serene and lofty tone of Emerson and the muse of the young Puritan Milton, while the weird imagination of Hawthorne, brooding over the mysteries of human life and character and bodying forth his musings in literary form, vivid, subtle, and original, may recall the later strain of the poet dealing with fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute. The three men of the same race, but in widely separate countries and times, and of genius so genuine but so dissimilar, signally illustrate the richness and variety of the Puritan tradition and character.
Hawthorne, as Coleridge said of Wordsworth, was “a noticeable man.” His face was singularly handsome and romantic, the outline full and rounded, the features symmetrical and strong, the brow broad and massive, and the whole refined head powerful and poetic. His smile was very sweet, and his laugh ready but not excessive. His manner was that of a very shy man, but it was self-possessed and never familiar. With others he was generally silent, and in conversation he talked quietly without effusiveness or ardor. He lived habitually within himself, and seemed, as his son Julian said, to find no better society. His dress was dark and plain. He walked rapidly, but with no air of effort, and his frame, well-knit and sturdy, gave his movement an easy swing, which implied great endurance. The photograph known as the Bennoch portrait (because it was procured by Francis Bennoch, a friend in England) is one of the most satisfactory likenesses of Hawthorne. There are several portraits of him, and the earlier likenesses reveal the singular gentleness of his strong nature. There is one painted in 1840 by Charles Osgood, in the possession of his cousin, Richard C. Manning, of Salem. In 1850 Cephas G. Thompson painted a portrait which is owned by Julian Hawthorne. Rouse drew in crayon, after his return from Europe, a likeness now in the possession of Mrs. James T. Fields, and Leutze painted his portrait in Washington in 1862. In Rome, Miss Landor modelled a bust of Hawthorne, which is now in the Concord public library, and Kuntze modelled his head in profile, but of a size a little smaller than life, and there are many excellent photographs. The portrait on page 124 is from a photograph made in 1861, in the possession of the senior editor of this work. His son Julian has published “Nathaniel Hawthorne and his Wife,” a biography (2 vols., Boston, 1885), which is the fullest memoir, and his son-in-law, George Parsons Lathrop, an admirable “Study of Hawthorne” (1876). Henry James wrote his life for the series of “English Men of Letters” (1880). The complete and best collection of his works is the Riverside edition, edited, with a memoir, by Mr. Lathrop (12 vols., Boston, 1883). There is also a cheaper Globe edition. A complete analytical index to his works, prepared by Evangeline M. O'Connor, forms a volume by itself, and is issued uniform with the various editions (Boston, 1882). — His wife, Sophia Peabody, author, b. in Salem, Mass., in 1810; d. in London, England, 26 Feb., 1871, possessed artistic talents, and made her husband's acquaintance while illustrating “The Gentle Boy” in the “Twice-told Tales.” They were married in 1843. After Hawthorne's death she edited his “Note-Books,” and published a volume of her own observations entitled “Notes in England and Italy” (New York, 1868). — Their son, Julian, author, b. in Boston, Mass., 22 June, 1846, went to Europe with his parents in 1853, and after their return entered Harvard in 1863, but gave more attention to athletic exercises than to his studies. In 1868 he began the study of civil engineering in the scientific school at Cambridge, and was one of the university crew in the regatta. In October, 1868, he went to Dresden to study, but the Franco-German war began while he was visiting at home in the summer of 1870, and he obtained employment as a hydrographic engineer under Gen. George B. McClellan in the department of docks, New York. In 1871 he began to write stories and sketches for magazines, and in 1872 lost his office as engineer, and, deciding to devote himself to literature, went to England, and then to Dresden, where he remained two years. While there he published his novels of “Bressant” (New York, 1873) and “Idolatry” (1874). In September, 1874, he settled in London, where he remained till October, 1881. The following winter he passed near Cork, Ireland, and in March, 1882, returned to New York. While in England he contributed much to the magazines, and for two years was a writer on the staff of the London “Spectator.” In 1875 he published in the “Contemporary Review” sketches entitled “Saxon Studies,” afterward issued in book-form (New York and London). The novel of “Garth” was issued in book-form in 1875, and was followed by novelettes and collections of stories entitled “The Laughing Mill,” “Archibald Malmaison,” “Ellice Quentin,” “Prince Saroni's Wife,” and the “Yellow Cap” fairy-stories. None of these appeared at the time in the United States, but “Prince Saroni's Wife” was reprinted in New York in 1884. “Sebastian Strome,” his next novel, was published in book-form in 1880, “Fortune's Fool” in 1883, and “Dust” and “Noble Blood” in 1884. After his return to the United States he edited his father's posthumous romance, “Dr. Grimshaw's Secret,” and wrote the biography of his father and mother. — Nathaniel Hawthorne's eldest daughter, Una, died unmarried. His daughter Rose married George Parsons Lathrop.