Selections from Twice-Told Tales

Selections from Twice-Told Tales

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Selections from Twice-Told Tales

Selections from Twice-Told Tales

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The village of Salem in Massachusetts has two claims to distinction in historical annals. The first of these causes of renown -- not now recalled with pride by its inhabitants -- is that here was the centre of the superstition known as the "Salem witchcraft." Towards the end of the seventeenth century a great witchcraft delusion broke out and before the frenzied superstition had run its course nineteen persons had been hanged, among them a clergyman who is now looked upon as a martyr to an unjust and senseless persecution. The other cause for distinction is a source of gratulation to every inhabitant of Salem. Here on the fourth of July, 1804, was born Nathaniel Hawthorne, who is recognized by all critics as a master of literary expression and is hailed by many as the greatest American author.

Hawthorne came of a long line of colonial ancestors. The first of the family to come to America was Major William Hathorne, who settled in Massachusetts in 1630. His name was spelled without the w, and the name was thus spelled till the time of our author himself, who changed the spelling to the form familiar now, Hawthorne. The Major took an active part in the contests with the savages, and was no less active in his efforts to stamp out the heretical Quakers. Mr. Julian Hawthorne says of him, "Quakers received the lash at his command, and itinerant preachers and vagabonds were happy if . . .

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