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From Margaret B. Moore's The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne. University of Missouri Press, pp. 192-93; 194; 198.

From Margaret B. Moore's The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne. University of Missouri Press, pp. 192-93; 194; 198.

Another Salemite who helped eject Hawthorne from the Custom House and who was right at the top of his list of enemies was Charles Wentworth Upham, initially a minister at Salem's First Church and then a politician, but always a writer. . . . In January 1831 he gave two lectures on "Salem Witchcraft," which were widely noticed and then printed (1835). This was, of course, at exactly the same time Hawthorne was delving into historical records. . . .

Hawthorne. . . mentioned Upham in "Alice Doane's Appeal": "Recently, indeed, an historian has treated the subject in a manner that will keep his name alive, in the only desirable connection with the errors of our ancestry, by converting the hill of their disgrace into an honorable monument of his own antiquarian lore, and of that better wisdom, which draws the moral while it tells the tale" (CE 11:267). In this passage Hawthorne may indeed have been writing with irony. . . .

. . . The Uphams did not come from Essex County; they had no known connection to the witchcraft accusations. Upham really did draw "the moral as it tells the tale," but the moral was pointed at Hawthorne's ancestors, not his own. Even though his treatment of John Hathorne was not nearly so trenchant in the earlier lectures as in his later book on the subject, the judge was singled out for cruelty to Elizabeth Carey. And even though Hawthorne said he would "take shame upon himself' for his ancestor's sin, he may have resented an outsider pointing the moral for the community.62

At any rate, each persona in this drama reacted with an excess of emotion that leads one to wonder if each was primarily a hypocrite. In Upham's "Memorial" there is a great deal of not very repressed rage. And in The House of the Seven Gables there is the same. Most of the characteristics of Judge Pyncheon were not true of Upham. He was not a judge, a horticulturalist, or mixed up with the White murder, but he did suffer from bronchitis, which could have led to the same clearing of the throat "rather habitual with him not altogether voluntary, yet indicative of nothing unless it were a slight bronchial complaint" (CE 2:124).

62. Charles W. Upham, Lectures on Witchcraft, Comprising a History of the Delusion in Salem in 1692, 75-76, and Salem Witchcraft, 1:15.

Source: Moore, Margaret B. The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1998.


Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/11913/


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