Hawthorne in Salem Search Hawthorne in Salem

Facebook Page

The Scarlet Letter > Page
Previous Page Custom House Home Next Page   Audio Reading of Page


favor of one Jonathan Pue, as Surveyor of his Majesty's Cus-
toms for the port of Salem, in the Province of Massachusetts
Bay. I remembered to have read (probably in Felt's Annals) a
notice of the decease of Mr. Surveyor Pue, about fourscore
years ago; and likewise, in a newspaper of recent times, an
account of the digging up of his remains in the little grave-yard
of St. Peter's Church, during the renewal of that edifice.
Nothing, if I rightly call to mind, was left of my respected
predecessor, save an imperfect skeleton, and some fragments
of apparel, and a wig of majestic frizzle; which, unlike the
head that it once adorned, was in very satisfactory preserva-
tion. But, on examining the papers which the parchment com-
mission served to envelop, I found more traces of Mr. Pue's
mental part, and the internal operations of his head, than the
frizzled wig had contained of the venerable skull itself.

They were documents, in short, not official, but of a private
nature, or, at least, written in his private capacity, and appar-
ently with his own hand. I could account for their being in-
cluded in the heap of Custom-House lumber only by the fact,
that Mr. Pue's death had happened suddenly; and that these
papers, which he probably kept in his official desk, had never
come to the knowledge of his heirs, or were supposed to re-
late to the business of the revenue. On the transfer of the
archives to Halifax, this package, proving to be of no public
concern, was left behind, and had remained ever since un-

The ancient Surveyor–being little molested, I suppose, at
that early day, with business pertaining to his office–seems to
have devoted some of his many leisure hours to researches as a
local antiquarian, and other inquisitions of a similar nature.
These supplied material for petty activity to a mind that
would otherwise have been eaten up with rust. A portion of
his facts, by the by, did me good service in the preparation of
the article entitled "MAIN STREET," included in the present
volume. The remainder may perhaps be applied to purposes

The Scarlet Letter > Page
Previous Page Custom House Home Next Page   Audio Reading of Page
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45

Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/11955/

About US Privacy Policy Copyright Credits Site Map Site Help