As soon as Hawthorne learned of the campaign to unseat him, he set the wheels
turning for a full-scale counteroffensive which in the next few months would
involve political figures as influential as Daniel Webster and newspapers
of both parties in Salem, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and probably
elsewhere. His cause became one of those much-discussed scandals which temporarily
arouse partisan outcries and extend language to its outer limits, only to
be barely remembered within six months or a year. Hawthorne's case was an
exception, for, his sensibilities wounded--'my head has been chopt off' was
the way he characterized the indignity--he attacked those who in his perception
had deprived him of livelihood as well as of masculinity: Hawthorne had a
way of transforming situations into confirmations of lifelong fears.
What rankled many people in Salem, particularly among the local Whigs, was
the support Hawthorne received from outsiders. Salem Democrats were also annoyed
by this outside support as well as by Hawthorne's well-publicized abstention
from the usual party activities such as parades, conventions, committees.
As Hawthorne himself noted when he began to defend his position and his integrity,
'A large portion of the local Democratic party look coldly on me, for not
having used the influence of my position to obtain the removal of Whigs.'
The truth apparently was, if it is possible to arrive at truth in emotionally
charged situations where ideologies and self-interest inevitably produce distortions,
that Hawthorne had lost the support of many Salem Democrats, merchants, and
even friends like Horace Conolly and Caleb Foote (267)
. . . .
Except for the local newspapers, the press treated Hawthorne sympathetically,
as an Owen Warland battling against the philistines (270). (courtesy of University
of Iowa Press)