Page:Nathaniel Hawthorne (Woodbury).djvu/12

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NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

a temper to sway and incite, which made him reputed the most eloquent man in the public assembly. He possessed—and this may indicate another side to his character—a copy of Sir Philip Sidney's "Arcadia," certainly a rare book in the wilderness. He was best remembered, both in local annals and family tradition, as a patriot and a persecutor, for he refused to obey the king's summons to England, and he ordered Quaker women to be whipped through the country-side.

The next generation, born in the colony, were generally of a narrower type than their fathers, though in their turn they took up the work of the new and making world with force and conscience; and the second Hathorne, John, of fanatical memory, was as characteristically a latter-day Puritan as his father had been a pioneer. He served in the council and the field, but he left a name chiefly as a magistrate. His duty as judge fell in the witchcraft years, and under that adversity of fortune he showed those qualities of the Puritan temperament which are most darkly recalled; he examined and sentenced to death several of the accused persons, and bore himself so inhumanely in court that the husband of one of the sufferers cursed him,—it must have been dramatically done to have left so vivid a mark in men's minds,—him and his children's children. This was the curse that lingered in the family memory like a black blot in the blood, and was ever after used to explain any ill luck that befell the house.