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 and who in the moment of the story proclaim themselves champions of religious liberty, as having nevertheless instituted already the pillory and the stocks for those who disagree with them. The Transcendental ideas which chiefly occupied Hawthorne's thought in the long romances were the doctrines of self-reliance, of compensation, and of what Emerson expressed in his essay on Circles. The ideal of self-reliance was that a man should live according to his own nature, by listening to the dictates of the over-soul as revealed in his impulses; to this end he should keep himself free of the imprisoning past, and of conventional society, which embodies the past. To Alcott or to Emerson this doctrine was so obviously sound that they stated it with every emphasis of rhetoric and with no qualifications. ‘Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.’ Hawthorne doubtless felt the truth of the doctrine as keenly as any one, but he was alive also to the unsocial results which might follow a narrow practice of it. A man consciously and entirely free of the past and on his guard against it might indeed possess his soul, but he might also miss the essence of culture, and having renounced the finer instruments of the art of life, he might so isolate himself from his fellows as to become ineffective in his noblest virtues. Since nature is unfolding a necessary order in and around us, an order which we apprehend with difficulty, the great danger of asserting ourselves is that we may thereby place ourselves outside of our true development, and never return to it. This danger of stepping out of the order, of doing violence to our proper destiny, gave Hawthorne the theme of such stories as Wakefield, The prophetic pictures, and Rappaccini's daughter. The doctrine of compensation, in one form or another, was peculiarly dear to Transcendental optimism. Every action carries its reward or punishment with it. The thief is punished, though the police never find him, for the price of theft is loss of innocence, fear of arrest, suspicion of other men. What compensation is destined for the victim of the thief, optimistic Transcendentalism preferred not to investigate, but it was into just such a neglected area of morals that Hawthorne liked to push his inquiry. His observations brought him into a certain agreement with the doctrine; because a natural order
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