Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nathaniel Hawthorne's Boss

General James Miller was mentioned by actual name in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Custom House Sketch which introduces The Scarlet Letter.   Miller was the Collector of the Salem Custom House from 1825 to 1849, and was Hawthorne's immediate supervisor from 1846 until 1849.  [Source] 

In his younger days, James Miller was a War of 1812 officer, known as the Hero of Lundy's Lane.

Included in this article:
"...he [Hawthorne] tells how the gallant old general would slowly and painfully ascend the Custom House steps and with a toilsome progress across the floor--for the step was palsied now that had been foremost in the charge--attain his customary chair beside the fireplace. 

"...[in] the private office of the present chief executive [of the Custom House], the genial Collector Waters-- a portrait of the hero of Lundy's Lane now looks down from the wall upon the visitor; but no picture of Hawthorne is to be found in the edifice. [Source]

Between those two careers, James Miller was Governor of the Arkansas Territory.  He died in 1851.

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