Do you consider Tom Walker better or worse than the other prominent Puritans in Boston? Consider the evidence.
this is the evidence..
-the puritans' teatment of Native Amer., Quakers, and Anabaptists
-what the marked tress in the swamp suggest about some respected Puritans
-Why land speculators have “run mad with schemes for new settlements”
-How other Christians react to Tom’s religious zeal
I don't think that Irving intends for Tom to be viewed as better or worse than the other Puritans in the story. Tom is simply another somewhat religious hypocrite that Irving satirizes. While Tom does prey on his fellow townsmen and church acquaintances, taking advantage of them even when they are in dire straits, his "sin" is no worse than the other greedy Puritans who grab land from other humans or who judge others even though they are just as guilty of the same type of sins.
The commonality between Tom and the other Puritans/townleaders in the story is that they are all selfish characters who greedily take what they want and think nothing of how that might harm someone else.
Humorous as Irving's story might be, when coupled with some of Hawthorne's stories/novels and Arthur Miller's The Crucible, it does cause readers of American Lit to view the Puritans in a negative light.