Hawthorne ,.I. Nathaniel, an American author, born in Salem, Mass., July 4, 1804, died at Plymouth, N. H., May 19, 1864. His ancestors, who came from England, had settled at Salem in the early part of the 17th century. The Hawthornes in that century took part in the persecution of the Quakers and the witches. For a long period the men of the family followed the sea; "a gray-headed shipmaster in each generation retiring from the quarter-deck to the homestead, while a boy of 14 took the hereditary place before the mast, confronting the salt spray and the gale, which had blustered against his sire and grandsire." The father of Nathaniel Hawthorne was a shipmaster who died of yellow fever in Surinam in 1808. His mother, whose maiden name was Manning, was a woman of great beauty and extreme sensibility. Her grief at her husband's death was hardly mitigated by time, and for the rest of her life she lived a mourner in absolute seclusion. For more than 30 years she took her meals alone in her chamber. At the age of 14, on account of feeble health, Nathaniel Hawthorne was sent to live on a farm belonging to his family in Raymond, on the borders of Sebago lake in Maine. He returned to Salem for a year to complete his studies preparatory to entering Bowdoin college, where he graduated in 1825, in the same class with George B. Cheever and Henry W. Longfellow. Franklin Pierce, who was in the preceding class, was his intimate friend.
After quitting college he resided many years in Salem, leading a solitary life of meditation and study, a recluse even from his own household, walking out by night and passing the day alone in his room, and writing wild tales, most of which he burned, and some of which appeared in newspapers, magazines, and annuals. In 1828 he published in Boston an anonymous romance, called "Fanshawe," which he never acknowledged, and which has not been reprinted. In 1836 he went to Boston to edit the " American Magazine of Useful Knowledge," of which he wrote the whole, and for which, owing to the insolvency of the publishers, he received no pay. In 1837 he collected from the annual called "The Token"and from other periodicals a number of his tales and sketches, and published them at Boston under the title of "Twice-told Tales." The book was noticed with high praise in the "North American Review " by Mr. Longfellow, who pronounced it the work of a man of genius and of a true poet, but it attracted little attention from the general public. Gradually, however, it found its way into the hands of the more cultivated and appreciative class of readers; and in 1842 a new edition was issued, together with a second series of tales collected from the "Democratic Review" and other magazines.
These volumes, says Mr. George W. Curtis, are "full of glancing wit, of tender satire, of exquisite natural description, of subtle and strange analysis of human life, darkly passionate and weird." In 1838 Mr. Bancroft the historian, then collector of the port of Boston, appointed Mr. Hawthorne a weigher and gauger in the custom house. He fulfilled his novel duties well, was a favorite with the sailors, it is said, and held his office till after the inauguration of President Harrison in 1841, when, being a democrat, he was displaced to make room for a whig. After leaving the custom house he went to live with the association for agriculture and education at Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Mass., of which he was one of the founders. He remained here a few months, "belaboring the rugged furrows;" but before the year expired he returned to Boston, where he resided till 1843, when he married Miss Sophia Peabody and took up his abode in the old manse at Concord, which adjoins the first battle field of the revolution, a parsonage which hud never before been profaned by a lay occupant.
In the introduction to the volume of tales and sketches entitled "Mosses from an old Manse" (New York, 1846), he has given a charming account of his life hero, of " wild, free days on the Assabet, indulging fantastic speculations beside our tire of fallen boughs with Ellery Chan-ning, or talking with Thoreau about pine trees and Indian relics in his hermitage at Walden." These " Mosses " were mostly written in the old manse, in a delightful little nook of a study in the rear of the house, from whoso windows the clergyman of Concord watched the tight between his parishioners and the British troops on April 19, 1775. In the same room Emerson, who once inhabited the manse, wrote "Nature." Mr. Hawthorne resided in Concord for three years, mingling little with the society of the village, and seeking solitude in the woodland walks around it, or in his boat on the beautiful Assabet, of which in his " Mosses" he says: "A more lovely stream than this, for a mile above its junction with the Concord, has never flowed on earth - nowhere, indeed, except to lave the interior regions of a poet's imagination." In 1846 Mr. Hawthorne was appointed surveyor of the port of Salem. He carried his family thither, and for the next three years he was the chief executive officer in the decayed old custom house, of which and its venerable inmates he gave a graphic and satirical sketch in the introduction to " The Scarlet Letter " (Boston, 1850), a powerful romance of early New England life, which became at once exceedingly popular, and established for its author a high and wide-spread reputation.
In 1849, the whigs having regained control of the national government, Mr. Hawthorne was again removed from office. Retiring to the hills of Berkshire, he settled in the town of Lenox, in a little red cottage on the shore of the lake called the Stockbridge Bowl. Here he wrote "The House of the Seven Gables" (Boston, 1851), a story the scene of which is laid in Salem in the earlier part of the present century. It was not less successful than " The Scarlet Letter," though its striking and sombre effect is wrought out of homely and apparently commonplace materials, and its strain of horror is prolonged almost to tedious-ness. This was followed by "The Blithedale Romance" (Boston, 1852), in which, as he says in the preface to the book, ho " has ventured to make free with his old and affectionately remembered homo at Brook Farm, as being certainly the most romantic episode of his own life." The characters of the romance, he says, are entirely fictitious, though the scene of Brook Farm was in good keeping with the personages whom he desired to introduce. "The self-conceited philanthropist; the high-spirited woman bruising herself against the narrow limitations of her sex; the weakly maiden, whose tremulous nerves endow her with sibylline attributes; the minor poet, beginning life with strenuous aspirations, which die out with his youthful fervor; all these might have been looked for at Brook Farm, but, by some accident, never made their appearance there." In 1852 Mr. Hawthorne returned to Concord, where he purchased a house and a few acres of land, intending to make it his permanent home.
During the presidential canvass of 1852 ho published a life of his college friend Franklin Pierce, the democratic candidate. President Pierce in 1853 appointed his biographer to one of the most lucrative posts in his gift, the consulate at Liverpool. Mr. Hawthorne held this office till 1857, when he resigned it, and for two years travelled with his family in France and Italy, residing for a good while in Rome and in Florence. He returned to Concord in the latter part of 1860, and lived here quietly until his health foiled, and in the spring of 1864 he set out on a journey through New Hampshire with ex-President Pierce. He reached a hotel in the town of Plymouth, where he stopped for the night, and was found dead in his bed in the morning. Among his works not already mentioned are: "True Stories from History and Biography" (Boston, 1851); "The Wonder Book for Girls and Boys " (1851); " The Snow Image and other Twice-told Tales" (1852); and "Tanglewood Tales," a continuation of " The Wonder Book " (1853). Each of these is in 1 vol. 12mo. In 1845 he edited "The Journal of an African Cruiser" (New York), from the MSS. of a naval officer, Lieut. Horatio Bridge. His longest and perhaps his best work, " The Marble Faun," a romance of Italy, was published in Boston in 1860, and in the same year reprinted in London with the title "Transformation." His next work, "Our Old Home," a series of English sketches contributed to the "Atlantic Monthly," was published in a volume in 1863. This was the last of his books that appeared during his life.
After his death his wife edited from his diaries, which he kept with remarkable regularity, his "American Note Books" (1868), "English Note Books" (1870), and "French and Italian Note Books " (1872). In 1872 "Septimius Fel-ton, or the Elixir of Life," a psychological romance, the scene of which is laid in Concord in 1775, was found among his manuscripts and edited by his daughter Una. Some chapters of "The Dolliver Romance," an unfinished work, were published in the "Atlantic Monthly " in 1864. A complete edition of his writings was issued in Boston in 1873, in 21 vols. 16mo. Mr. Hillard of Boston, one of Hawthorne's most intimate friends, says of him in an article in the "Atlantic Monthly" for 1870 : "He was a man as peculiar in character as ho was unique in genius. In him opposite qualities met, and were happily and harmoniously blended; and this was true of him physically as well as intellectually. He was tall and strongly built, with broad shoulders, deep chest, a massive head, black hair, and large, dark eyes. Wherever he was, he attracted attention by his imposing presence. He looked like a man who might have held the stroke oar in a university boat. And his genius, as all the world knows, was of masculine force and sweep.
But, on the other hand, no man had more of the feminine element than he. He was feminine in his quick perceptions, his fine insight, his sensibility to beauty, his delicate reserve, his purity of feeling. No man comprehended woman more perfectly; none has painted woman with a more exquisite and ethereal pencil. And his face was as mobile and rapid in its changes of expression as is the face of a young girl. His lip and cheek heralded the word before it was spoken. His eyes would darken visibly under the touch of a passing emotion, like the waters of a fountain ruffled by the breeze of summer. So, too, he was the shyest of men. The claims and courtesies of social life were terrible to him. The thought of making a call would keep him awake in his bed. At breakfast, he could not lay a piece of butter upon a lady's plate without a little trembling of the hand - this is a fact, and not a phrase. He was so shy that in the presence of two intimate friends he would be less easy and free-spoken than in that of only one." H. Sophia Peabody, an American authoress, wife of the preceding, born in Salem, Mass., in 1810, died in London, England, Feb. 26,1871. She was married to Hawthorne in 1843, having made his acquaintance by illustrating one of his "Twice-told Tales," "The Gentle Boy." She had considerable artistic talent, and after the death of her husband devoted herself to editing his " Note Books." In 18G8 she published a volume of her own observations entitled "Notes in England and Italy." She was residing in England with her two daughters when she died.
III. Julian, an American author, son of the preceding, born in Boston, June 22, 184G. He went to Europe with the rest of the family in 1853, and remained there till 18G0, when ho came home to Concord. There he went to school for three years, his previous education having been entirely domestic. In 1863 he entered Harvard college, in the class which graduated in 1867; but his attendance was very irregular, and he did not graduate. In 18G8 ho entered the scientific school of the university, but gave more attention to rowing and other muscular exercises than to his studies. He rowed in the college regatta in the summer of that year, and in the autumn went to Dresden in Germany, where he resided nearly two years, studying engineering. He came to New York in 1870, and was employed till 1872 as an engineer in the department of docks. In November, 1870, he married an American lady of German descent, whose acquaintance he had made in Dresden. In 1871 he began to write stories and sketches for the magazines, and in 1873 published in London and New York a novel entitled "Bres-sant." In 1872 he went with his family to Dresden, where he now (1874) resides.
The Old Manse at Concord, Mass.