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- The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne - 1/56 -


THE LIFE AND GENIUS OF NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

BY FRANK PRESTON STEARNS

AUTHOR OF "THE REAL AND IDEAL IN LITERATURE," "LIFE OF TINTORETTO," "LIFE OF BISMARCK," "TRUE REPUBLICANISM," "CAMBRIDGE SKETCHES," ETC.

[Illustration: Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Frances Osborne Portrait: by permission of the Essex Institute.]

INSCRIBED

TO EMILIA MACIEL STEARNS

"In the elder days of art Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part,-- For the gods see everywhere." --_Longfellow_

"Oh, happy dreams of such a soul have I, And softly to myself of him I sing, Whose seraph pride all pride doth overwing; Who stoops to greatness, matches low with high, And as in grand equalities of sky, Stands level with the beggar and the king." --_Wasson_

Preface

The simple events of Nathaniel Hawthorne's life have long been before the public. From 1835 onward they may easily be traced in the various Note-books, which have been edited from his diary, and previous to that time we are indebted for them chiefly to the recollections of his two faithful friends, Horatio Bridge and Elizabeth Peabody. These were first systematised and published by George P. Lathrop in 1872, but a more complete and authoritative biography was issued by Julian Hawthorne twelve years later, in which, however, the writer has modestly refrained from expressing an opinion as to the quality of his father's genius, or from attempting any critical examination of his father's literary work. It is in order to supply in some measure this deficiency, that the present volume has been written. At the same time, I trust to have given credit where it was due to my predecessors, in the good work of making known the true character of so rare a genius and so exceptional a personality.

The publication of Horatio Bridge's memoirs and of Elizabeth Manning's account of the boyhood of Hawthorne have placed before the world much that is new and valuable concerning the earlier portion of Hawthorne's life, of which previous biographers could not very well reap the advantage. I have made thorough researches in regard to Hawthorne's American ancestry, but have been able to find no ground for the statements of Conway and Lathrop, that William Hathorne, their first ancestor on this side of the ocean, was directly connected with the Quaker persecution. Some other mistakes, like Hawthorne's supposed connection with the duel between Cilley and Graves, have also been corrected.

F. P. S.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. SALEM AND THE HATHORNES: 1630-1800 II. BOYHOOD OF HAWTHORNE: 1804-1821 III. BOWDOIN COLLEGE: 1821-1825 IV. LITTLE MISERY: 1825-1835 V. EOS AND EROS: 1835-1839 VI. PEGASUS AT THE CART: 1839-1841 VII. HAWTHORNE AS A SOCIALIST: 1841-1842 VIII. CONCORD AND THE OLD MANSE: 1842-1845 IX. "MOSSES FROM AN OLD MANSE": 1845 X. FROM CONCORD TO LENOX: 1845-1849 XI. PEGASUS IS FREE: 1850-1852 XII. THE LIVERPOOL CONSULATE: 1852-1854 XIII. HAWTHORNE IN ENGLAND: 1854-1858 XIV. ITALY XV. HAWTHORNE AS ART CRITIC: 1858 XVI. "THE MARBLE FAUN": 1859-1860 XVII. HOMEWARD BOUND: 1860-1862 XVIII. IMMORTALITY

PORTRAITS OF HAWTHORNE EDITIONS OF HAWTHORNE'S BOOKS PUBLISHED UNDER HIS OWN DIRECTION. MRS. EMERSON AND MRS. HAWTHORNE APPENDICES

List of Illustrations

PORTRAIT OF HAWTHORNE, BY FRANCES OSBORNE IN 1893 HAWTHORNE'S BIRTHPLACE HORATIO BRIDGE, FROM THE PORTRAIT BY EASTMAN JOHNSON HAWTHORNE, FROM THE PORTRAIT BY CHARLES OSGOOD IN 1840 THE OLD MANSE, RESIDENCE OF DR. RIPLEY THE CUSTOM HOUSE, SALEM, MASS THE WAYSIDE GUIDO RENI'S PORTRAIT OF BEATRICE CENCI STATUE OF PRAXITELES' RESTING FAUN TORRE MEDIAVALLE DELLA SCIMMIA (HILDA'S TOWER) IN ROME

THE LIFE AND GENIUS OF NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

CHAPTER I

SALEM AND THE HATHORNES: 1630-1800

The three earliest settlements on the New England coast were Plymouth, Boston, and Salem; but Boston soon proved its superior advantages to the two others, not only from its more capacious harbor, but also from the convenient waterway which the Charles River afforded to the interior of the Colony. We find that a number of English families, and among them the ancestors of Gen. Joseph Warren and Wendell Phillips, who crossed the ocean in 1640 in the "good ship Arbella," soon afterward migrated to Watertown on Charles River for the sake of the excellent farming lands which they found there. Salem, however, maintained its ascendency over Plymouth and other neighboring harbors on the coast, and soon grew to be the second city of importance in the Colony during the eighteenth century, when the only sources of wealth were fishing, shipbuilding, and commerce. Salem nourished remarkably. Its leading citizens became wealthy and developed a social aristocracy as cultivated, as well educated, and, it may also be added, as fastidious as that of Boston itself. In this respect it differed widely from the other small cities of New England, and the exclusiveness of its first families was more strongly marked on account of the limited size of the place. Thus it continued down to the middle of the last century, when railroads and the tendency to centralization began to draw away its financial prosperity, and left the city to small manufactures and its traditional respectability.

The finest examples of American eighteenth century architecture are supposed to exist in and about the city of Salem, and they have the advantage, which American architecture lacks so painfully at the present time, of possessing a definite style and character--edifices which are not of a single type, like most of the houses in Fifth Avenue, but which, while differing in many respects, have a certain general resemblance, that places them all in the same category. The small old country churches of Essex County are not distinguished for fine carving or other ornamentation, and still less by the costliness of their material, for they are mostly built of white pine, but they have an indefinable air of pleasantness about them, as if they graced the ground they stand on, and their steeples seem to float in the air above us. If we enter them on a Sunday forenoon--for on week-days they are like a sheepfold without its occupants--we meet with much the same kind of pleasantness in the assemblage there. We do not find the deep religious twilight of past ages, or the noonday glare of a fashionable synagogue, but a neatly attired congregation of weather-beaten farmers and mariners, and their sensible looking wives, with something of the original Puritan hardness in their faces, much ameliorated by the liberalism and free thinking of the past fifty years. Among them too you will see some remarkably pretty young women; and young men like those who dug the trenches on Breed's Hill in the afternoon of June 16, 1775. There may be veterans in the audience who helped Grant to go to Richmond. Withal there is much of the spirit of the early Christians among them, and virtue enough to save their country in any emergency.

These old churches have mostly disappeared from Salem city and have been replaced by more aristocratic edifices, whose square or octagonal towers are typical of their leading parishioners,--a dignified class, if somewhat haughty and reserved; but they too will soon belong to the past, drawn off to the great social centres in and about Boston. In the midst of Salem there is a triangular common, "with its never-failing elms," where the boys large and small formerly played cricket--married men too--as they do still on the village greens of good old England, and around this enclosure the successful merchants and navigators of the city built their mansion houses; not half houses like those in the larger cities, but with spacious halls and rooms on either side going up three stories. It is in the gracefully ornamented doorways and the delicate interior wood-work, the carving of wainscots, mantels and cornices, the skilful adaptations of classic forms to a soft and delicate material that the charm of this architecture chiefly


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