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to suffer the fate of the children of Thetis, whose immortality was tried by fire. We hope, however, that ere long some one of our most gifted bards will throw his fetters off, and, relying on himself alone, fathom the recesses of his own mind, and bring up rich pearls from the secret depths of thought.
We will conclude these suggestions to our native poets by quoting Ben Jonson's “ Ode to Himself," which we address to each of them individually:
“Where do'st thou careless lie
Buried in ease and sloth ?
It is the common moth
· Are all th’ Aonian springs
Dri'd up ? lies Thespia waste ?
Or droop they as disgrac't,
“ If hence thy silence be,
As 'tis too just a cause,
Should not on fortune pause;
" What though the greedy frie
Be taken with false baytes
They die with their conceits,
The traveler by the Eastern Railroad, from Boston, reaches in less than an hour the old town of Salem, Massachusetts. It is chiefly composed of plain wooden houses, but it has a quaint air of past provincial grandeur, and has indeed been an important commercial town. The first American ship for Calcutta and China sailed from this port; and Salem ships opened our trade with New Holland and the South Seas. But its glory has long since departed, with that of its stately and respectable neighbors, Newburyport and Portsmouth. There is still, however, a custom-house in Salem, there are wharves, and chandlers' shops, and a faint show of shipping, and an air of marine capacity which no apparent result justifies. It sits upon the shore like an antiquated sea-captain, grave and silent, in tarpaulin and duck trousers, idly watching the ocean upon which he will never sail again.
But this touching aspect of age and lost prosperity merely serves to deepen the peculiar impression of the old city, which is not derived from its former commercial importance, but from other associations. Salem village was a famous
* The Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 16 vols. 12mo.
place in the Puritan annals. The tragedy of the witchcraft tortures and murders has cast upon it a ghostly spell, from which it seems never to have escaped ; and even the sojourner of to-day, as he loiters along the shore in the sunniest morning of June, will sometimes feel an icy breath in the air, chilling the very marrow of his bones. Nor is he consoled by being told that it is only the east wind; for he can not help believing that an invisible host of Puritan specters have breathed upon him, revengeful, as he poached upon their ancient haunts.
The Puritan spirit was neither gracious nor lovely, but nothing softer than its iron hand could have done its necessary work. The Puritan character was narrow, intolerant, and exasperating. The forefathers were very "sour" in the estimation of Morton and his merry company at Mount Wollaston. But, for all that, Bradstreet, and Carver, and Winthrop, were better forefathers than the gay Morton, and the Puritan spirit is doubtless the moral influence of modern civilization, both in Old and New England. By the fruit let the seed be judged. The State to whose rough coast the Mayflower came, and in which the Pilgrim spirit has been most active, is to-day the chief of all human societies, politically, morally, and socially. It is the community in which the average of well-being is higher than in any state we know in history. Puritan though it be, it is more truly liberal and free than any large community in the world. But it had bleak beginnings. The icy shore, the somber pines, the stealthy savages, the hard soil, the unbending religious austerity, the Scriptural severity, the arrogant virtues, the angry intolerance of contradiction--they all made a narrow strip of sad civilization between the pitiless sea
and the remorseless forests. The moral and physical tenacity which is wrestling with the rebellion was toughened among these flinty and forbidding rocks. The fig, the pomegranate, and the almond would not grow there, nor the nightingale sing; but nobler men than its children the sun never shone upon, nor has the heart of man heard sweeter music than the voices of James Otis and Samuel Adams. Think of Plymouth in 1620, and of Massachusetts to-day! Out of strength came forth sweetness.
With some of the darkest passages in Puritan history this old town of Salem, which dozes apparently with the most peaceful conscience in the world, is identified, and while its Fourth of July bells were joyfully ringing sixty years ago Nathaniel Hathorne was born. He subsequently chose to write the name Hawthorne, because he thought he had discovered that it was the original spelling. In the introduction to “The Scarlet Letter," Hawthorne speaks of his ancestors as coming from Europe in the seventeenth century, and establishing themselves in Salem, where they served the state and propitiated Heaven by joining in the persecution of Quakers and witches. The house known as the Witch House is still standing on the corner of Summer and Essex Streets. It was built in 1642 by Captain George Corwin, and here in 1692 many of the unfortunates who were palpably guilty of age and ugliness were examined by the Honorable Jonathan Curwin, Major Gedney, Captain John Higginson, and John Hathorn, Esquire.
The name of this last worthy occurs in one of the first and most famous of the witch trials—that of “Goodwife Cory,” in March, 1692, only a month after the beginning of
the delusion at the house of the minister Parris. Goodwife Cory was accused by ten children, of whom Elizabeth Parris was one; they declared that they were pinched by her, and strangled, and that she brought them a book to sign. “Mr. Hathorn, a magistrate of Salem,” says Robert Calef, in “ More Wonders of the Invisible World," "asked her why she afflicted these children. She said she did not afflict them. He asked her who did then. She said, 'I do not know; how should I know?' She said they were poor, distracted creatures, and no heed ought to be given to what they said. Mr. Hathorn and Mr. Noyes replied that it was the judgment of all that were there present that they were bewitched, and only she (the accused) said they were distracted. She was accused by them that the black man whispered to her in her ear now (while she was upon examination), and that she had a yellow bird that did use to suck between her fingers, and that the said bird did suck now in the assembly.” John Hathorn and Jonathan Curwin were “the assistants” of Salem village, and held most of the examinations and issued the warrants. Justice Hathorn was very swift in judgment, holding every accused person guilty in every particular. When poor Jonathan Cary, of Charlestown, attended his wife charged with witchcraft before Justice Hathorn, he requested that he might hold one of her hands, “but it was denied me. Then she desired me to wipe the tears from her eyes and the sweat from her face, which I did ; then she desired that she might lean herself on me, saying she should faint. Justice Hathorn replied she had strength enough to torment these persons, and she should have strength enough to stand. I speaking something against their cruel proceedings, they commanded me