Monday, March 8, 2010

The Gray Champion

The Gray Champion

This story reminds me of Endicott and the Red Cross (I commented briefly here) another of Hawthorne's snatches of colonial history that demonstrate a recurring theme of imperial tyranny and colonial insurrection.

This time the Catholic (or as Hawthorne is wont to say "popish") King James II has dispatched a new governor who imposes harsh laws and taxes on the colonists. When the locals begin to assert their disrespect for the new authority, Governor Edward Andros marches his troops to town to intimidate them. Just in time an original settler of the colony (a ghost?) shows up to face down the governor and announce the abdication of James (which of course will not be known for some time in Boston). The gray champion's proclamation is believed and causes the overthrow of the governor.

Hawthorne reminds his New England readers that at their heart they are folk who bristle at being told what to do by Great Britain and the pope. I am intrigued with this nationalism and revolutionary theme that recurs not only in The Gray Champion and Endicott and the Red Cross but also in the Legends of the Province House series.

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