Excerpts from Understanding The Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook
to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents by Claudia Johnson
Even after King Charles II prohibited the execution of Quakers, Puritans
found ways to hound them out of Puritan settlements. Hawthorne's ancestor,
William Hathorne, was active in their persecution.
. . . after the king's orders halting the executions, the Puritans
passed the Cart and Whip Act. By means of this law, Quakers appearing in the
Massachusetts Bay Colony would be dragged behind a cart in each settlement,
successively, and whipped through the streets until they reached the boundaries,
where they were thrown out and left to pursue their own way if they were capable.
One Quaker, Ann Coleman, was brutally beaten in this fashion on the orders of
William Hathorne"(164).(courtesy of Greenwood
Claudia Durst Johnson, Understanding the Scarlet Letter: a Student
Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents, Greenwood
Press, c. 1995