August 02, 2007

Literal or Figurative Fred?

by PG

Former senator Fred Thompson says,

Youíve probably never heard of Rebecca Nurse, but bear with me for a moment. Nurse arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1640. There, despite being known as a woman of virtue and piety, she was accused of being a witch. On July 19, 1692, she was hanged.
Now almost 315 years to the day later, one of Nurseís descendants is suffering through a witch hunt of a more modern variety. Iím talking about Judge Leslie Southwick, whose nomination to the long-standing vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is being thwarted by Senate Democrats.
(Maybe Thompson's "You're a noble savage" thing plays well among his voter base, but given that everyone at my mediocre public high school in East Texas had to read The Crucible and thus has heard of Rebecca Nurse even if they don't retain the memory, I don't find it charming.)

Anyway, I didn't bother to read the rest of the piece, because I was stuck on the question of whether Thompson meant that Judge Southwick is a literal or figurative descendant of Nurse. There was a Samuel Southwick who became the ward of Rebecca Nurse and her husband, whom some have identified as the reason for her to have become disfavored by the neighbors, because Southwick was a Quaker. If this genealogy page is accurate, one of Nurse's descendants married one of Southwick's, so maybe Thompson was being literal, because otherwise the reference to Nurse is kind of bizarre.

According to Wikipedia, Nurse does have a connection to a different 2008 Republican candidate: "Mrs. Nurse was a direct ancestor of the former Massachusetts governor and current 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney."

August 2, 2007 12:08 AM | TrackBack
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