Thomas Woodward Part 2

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(Conclusion)
(Some observations regarding Thomas Woodward, the immigrant)
 
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== '''''Some Questions Regarding the Parentage of, and other issues relating to, Thomas Woodward, Esq.,''''' Late of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Formerly Surveyor of Carolina colony, Member of the Governor’s Council, etc.'''''==
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'''''Some Questions Regarding the Parentage of, and other issues relating to, Thomas Woodward, Esq.,''''' Late of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, Formerly Surveyor of Carolina colony, Member of the Governor’s Council, etc.'''''
  
  
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One can, of course, take the above statements flatly, at face value. In that case, we are manifestly dealing with a separate Thomas Woodward than the immigrant to Isle of Wight County, Virginia (even though, as per my earlier paper--and others, the immigrant Thomas Woodward is known to have held the office of Assay Master of the Royal Mint in 1649 [16]), since the latter Thomas Woodward (the immigrant) clearly left a widow named Katherine and several named children in Virginia in 1677 (17).
 
One can, of course, take the above statements flatly, at face value. In that case, we are manifestly dealing with a separate Thomas Woodward than the immigrant to Isle of Wight County, Virginia (even though, as per my earlier paper--and others, the immigrant Thomas Woodward is known to have held the office of Assay Master of the Royal Mint in 1649 [16]), since the latter Thomas Woodward (the immigrant) clearly left a widow named Katherine and several named children in Virginia in 1677 (17).
  
But '''''was''''' that Thomas Woodward of Lambeth Marsh, Surrey and St. Mary le Bow, Cheapside, really and truly '''''deceased''''' “by 1655”? Might it not be at least '''''possible''''' that, instead of merely dying, he had rather simply absconded to the colonies—to Virginia—leaving a wife and child (or children?) back in London to believe he had met an untimely end? Such occurrences were not at all uncommon back then. Another, equally-valid possibility is that he could have been officially “encouraged” to go there (in view of saving his skin—and head) because his outspoken Royalist political views (which had already caused Parliament to sack him from one lucrative position) had rendered his remaining in England ‘problematic’ for those then in power (the Cromwellian ‘Long Parliament’). Perhaps he was even sent there '''''involuntarily''''' by the English Parliamentarian government (this would later become a common--and highly controversial--practice during the Restoration), though this last possibility would appear unlikely based on Woodward's evident position of influence and power upon his arrival in Virginia. This is all merely speculation, yes;  but there are several circumstances which (intriguingly) lend themselves to this new interpretation (that the Thomas Woodward of Lambeth, Surrey might not have '''''died''''' "in 1655"):
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But '''''was''''' that Thomas Woodward of Lambeth Marsh, Surrey and St. Mary le Bow, Cheapside, really and truly '''''deceased''''' “by 1655”? Might it not be at least '''''possible''''' that, instead of merely dying, he had rather simply absconded to the colonies—to Virginia—leaving a wife and child (or children?) back in London to believe he had met an untimely end? Such occurrences were not at all uncommon back then. Another, equally-valid possibility is that he could have been officially “encouraged” to go there (in view of saving his skin—and head) because his outspoken Royalist political views (which had already caused Parliament to sack him from one lucrative position) had rendered his remaining in England ‘problematic’ for those then in power (the Cromwellian ‘Long Parliament’). Perhaps he was even sent there '''''involuntarily''''' by the English Parliamentarian government (this would later become a common--and highly controversial--practice during the Restoration), though this last possibility would appear unlikely based on Woodward's evident position of influence and power upon his arrival in Virginia. This is all merely speculation, yes;  but there are several circumstances which (intriguingly) lend themselves to this new interpretation (that the Thomas Woodward of Lambeth, Surrey might not have '''''died''''' "by 1655"):
  
 
==Some observations regarding Thomas Woodward, the immigrant==
 
==Some observations regarding Thomas Woodward, the immigrant==
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Despite the Restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660, and Thomas Woodward’s publicly-stated opinion that the King’s absence from the throne (prior to 1660) was his reason for not returning to England (22), Woodward in fact apparently never again set foot in England—though he would have had plenty of opportunity to do so after 1660. The statement of the King himself in 1665, upon the death of Woodward’s son John, seems to indicate as much (23).
 
Despite the Restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660, and Thomas Woodward’s publicly-stated opinion that the King’s absence from the throne (prior to 1660) was his reason for not returning to England (22), Woodward in fact apparently never again set foot in England—though he would have had plenty of opportunity to do so after 1660. The statement of the King himself in 1665, upon the death of Woodward’s son John, seems to indicate as much (23).
  
Moreover, Thomas Woodward the immigrant seems to have shown a decided reluctance to communicate with certain people back in England: witness his elder son John, and the King—both of whom seem to have had no earthly idea where Thomas might have ended up by 1665. [24] Strangely, though, Thomas Woodward could be downright chatty with people in England when it suited his purpose (just evidently not with his son John, or with his Monarch): witness the long, detailed letter he wrote on 2 June, 1665, to Sir John Colleton, one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina colony, regarding the (then-current) state of affairs in said colony. (25)  Given Thomas Woodward’s huge public stature in the colonies (even notoriety, in Puritan quarters), I find it difficult to fathom how or why his son John and especially his king, Charles II, can have been so ignorant as to his whereabouts in 1665. As Surveyor for the colonies of Virginia and Carolina, it would have been Thomas Woodward’s bounden duty to communicate regularly with his superiors in England and elsewhere in the colonies. Sir John Colleton apparently knew well enough where he was in 1665. How is it then that the King of England (and Woodward’s own son) did not? It simply doesn’t add up. ''Unless'' ...
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Moreover, Thomas Woodward the immigrant seems to have shown a decided reluctance to communicate with certain people back in England: witness his elder son John, and the King—both of whom seem to have had no earthly idea where Thomas might have ended up by 1665. [24] Strangely, though, Thomas Woodward could be downright chatty with people in England when it suited his purpose (just evidently not with his son John, or with his Monarch): witness the long, detailed letter he wrote on 2 June, 1665, to Sir John Colleton, one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina colony, regarding the (then-current) state of affairs in said colony. (25)  Given Thomas Woodward’s huge public stature in the colonies (even notoriety, in Puritan quarters), It seems difficult indeed to fathom how or why his son John and especially his king, Charles II, can have been so ignorant as to his whereabouts in 1665. As Surveyor for the colonies of Virginia and Carolina, it would have been Thomas Woodward’s bounden duty to communicate regularly with his superiors in England and elsewhere in the colonies. Sir John Colleton apparently knew well enough where he was in 1665. How is it then that the King of England (and Woodward’s own son) did not? It simply doesn’t add up. ''Unless'' ...
  
Perhaps, on hindsight, this may have been due to political machinations: perhaps Woodward did indeed communicate regularly with '''''certain''''' persons back in England, but '''''not''''' to other persons, because of differences in ideology and political intent. One can speculate further and ask the question whether Thomas Woodward the immigrant might not have somehow turned '''''against''''' his Monarch by 1660, participating in intrigues against him. This would certainly explain why Woodward's presence (though known to Colleton) was evidently a closely-guarded secret kept from Charles II and from Woodward's own son. One can speculate even further, and ask whether or not Thomas Woodward the immigrant was perhaps a colonial agent of Perliamentary interests--in other words, a spy, despite the fact that he was 'sacked' from his Assay Master post by them. Perhaps that 'sacking' (and his later loudly-spoken 'Royalist' opinions) was only a ruse, to establish his fake Royalist credentials. Perhaps he had been a Parliamentarian the whole time. Perhaps the post of High Sheriff of Surrey in 1650 was his 'reward' (compensation) for having lost his post as Assay Master. Perhaps even some of the colonial officals in Virginia were themselves unaware of Woodward's true nature. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps ...
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Perhaps, on hindsight, this may have been due to political machinations: perhaps Woodward did indeed communicate regularly with '''''certain''''' persons back in England, but '''''not''''' to other persons, because of differences in ideology and political intent. One can speculate further and ask the question whether Thomas Woodward the immigrant might not have somehow turned '''''against''''' his Monarch by 1660, participating in intrigues against him. This would certainly explain why Woodward's presence (though known to Colleton) was evidently a closely-guarded secret kept from Charles II and from Woodward's own son. One can speculate even further, and ask whether or not Thomas Woodward the immigrant was perhaps a colonial agent of Parliamentary interests--in other words, a spy, despite the fact that he was 'sacked' from his Assay Master post by them. Perhaps that 'sacking' (and his later loudly-spoken 'Royalist' opinions) was only a ruse, to establish his fake Royalist credentials. Perhaps he had been a Parliamentarian the whole time. Perhaps the post of High Sheriff of Surrey in 1650 was his 'reward' (compensation) for having lost his post as Assay Master. Perhaps even some of the colonial officials in Virginia were themselves unaware of Woodward's true nature. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps ...
  
 
This mystery begins to make considerable sense, if we assume any or all of the above possibilities (for the sake of argument), and furthermore assume that in fact Thomas Woodward in the 1650s and 1660s didn’t '''''want''''' his English family to know where he was, due to sharp political differences between them. Recall that families were similarly divided (even father against son, as may have been the case here) during the ''American'' Civil War. Recall also that in 1677, as Thomas Woodward lay on his deathbed, and wrote out his will (dying within only four more days), he publicly stated ''that he didn’t even know if he had grandchildren by his son John or not'' (26). It has been said before, but this fact indicates a '''''serious''''' breach in communication between Thomas and his son John in England. And as mentioned, we can only guess why this might have been the case. By this time in colonial affairs, letters and persons were regularly making the transatlantic crossing again and again—occasionally returning to England for visits and sometimes even to die and be buried there.
 
This mystery begins to make considerable sense, if we assume any or all of the above possibilities (for the sake of argument), and furthermore assume that in fact Thomas Woodward in the 1650s and 1660s didn’t '''''want''''' his English family to know where he was, due to sharp political differences between them. Recall that families were similarly divided (even father against son, as may have been the case here) during the ''American'' Civil War. Recall also that in 1677, as Thomas Woodward lay on his deathbed, and wrote out his will (dying within only four more days), he publicly stated ''that he didn’t even know if he had grandchildren by his son John or not'' (26). It has been said before, but this fact indicates a '''''serious''''' breach in communication between Thomas and his son John in England. And as mentioned, we can only guess why this might have been the case. By this time in colonial affairs, letters and persons were regularly making the transatlantic crossing again and again—occasionally returning to England for visits and sometimes even to die and be buried there.
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There were at least two other "Thomas Woodwards" mentioned in Seventeenth-Century English sources, who may or may not have been the same man as our immigrant to Virginia. This next broad series of sections will discuss them one by one. At least one of them (the friend of the poet Donne) was  almost certainly ''NOT'' the same man as the immigrant to Virginia, but is included here anyway, both for his interest as a person in his own right, and also simply to eliminate him, so as to avoid confusion when searching for evidence which might apply to the immigrant.
 
There were at least two other "Thomas Woodwards" mentioned in Seventeenth-Century English sources, who may or may not have been the same man as our immigrant to Virginia. This next broad series of sections will discuss them one by one. At least one of them (the friend of the poet Donne) was  almost certainly ''NOT'' the same man as the immigrant to Virginia, but is included here anyway, both for his interest as a person in his own right, and also simply to eliminate him, so as to avoid confusion when searching for evidence which might apply to the immigrant.
  
The first of these Thomas Woodwards, a “Thomas Woodward, Esq.”, had become a creditor (lender) in the amount of £1,000 to Sir Thomas Dawes, to satisfy a debt against the Crown, on 6 August, 1641. This was in company with several other gentlemen (apparently of quality), and was recorded in the ''Journal of the House of Commons'' (27).  This Thomas Woodward may or may not have been the same person as the immigrant to Virginia. We simply have insufficient proof one way or the other. We nonetheless can see, whether or not he was the same person as our immigrant, that this particular Thomas Woodward was a man of (a) considerable wealth and advantage, and (b) a man comfortable among the political elite of his day and age. These facts would seem to imply at least a storng possibility that he could have been the same person as our immigrant.
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The first of these Thomas Woodwards, a “Thomas Woodward, Esq.”, had become a creditor (lender) in the amount of £1,000 to Sir Thomas Dawes, to satisfy a debt against the Crown, on 6 August, 1641. This was in company with several other gentlemen (apparently of quality), and was recorded in the ''Journal of the House of Commons'' (27).  This Thomas Woodward may or may not have been the same person as the immigrant to Virginia. We simply have insufficient proof one way or the other. We nonetheless can see, whether or not he was the same person as our immigrant, that this particular Thomas Woodward was a man of (a) considerable wealth and advantage, and (b) a man comfortable among the political elite of his day and age. These facts would seem to imply at least a strong possibility that he could have been the same person as our immigrant.
  
 
Then there was the above-mentioned “Thomas Woodward, gent.,” who was apparently a law student at the Middle Temple, of the famous Inns of Court in London, and was connected with that hallowed institution from at least the year 1618 (28).  But even more than that (as mentioned above), he was a personal friend whilst there of the English metaphysical poet John Donne.
 
Then there was the above-mentioned “Thomas Woodward, gent.,” who was apparently a law student at the Middle Temple, of the famous Inns of Court in London, and was connected with that hallowed institution from at least the year 1618 (28).  But even more than that (as mentioned above), he was a personal friend whilst there of the English metaphysical poet John Donne.
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==Tying Up Loose Ends==  
 
==Tying Up Loose Ends==  
  
So much for attempting research on people living in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England, right? The deeper one digs, the greater the unresolvable puzzles one apparently turns up.
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The Thomas Woodward who was the friend and intimate of the poet John Donne also seems to have been at one time the unwilling object of the poet's occasional homosexual interest: four verse letters exist (written when Donne was eighteen and Woodward sixteen), addressed to "T.W.", and expressing (as George Klawitter has shown) "first, the poet's infatuation for his friend, and then, his severe disappointment when the youth fails to respond with a like ardor." These poems, says Klawitter, "including Woodward's response, are full of sexual puns and a highly charged homoeroticism." (33) Anyone with more than a passing familiarity with Elizabethan literature and biography should not be unduly surprised by this disclosure. Even the great Shakespeare himself addressed the first one hundred and twenty-six of his famous ''Sonnets'' to a handsome young man, usually in tender, sometimes arguably in homoerotic, tones (and this despite C.S. Lewis' ''puritan'' denial of the same). There were of course still others, such as Marlowe and Barnfield, who were far more explicit than this, and left no doubt at all about their proclivities and interests.
 
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The Thomas Woodward who was the friend and intimate of the poet John Donne also seems to have been at one time the unwilling object of the poet's occasional homosexual interest: four verse letters exist (written when Donne was eighteen and Woodward sixteen), addressed to "T.W.", and expressing (as George Klawitter has shown) "first, the poet's infatuation for his friend, and then, his severe disappointment when the youth fails to respond with a like ardor." These poems, says Klawitter, "including Woodward's response, are full of sexual puns and a highly charged homoeroticism." (33) Anyone with more than a passing familiarity with Elizabethan literature and biography should not be unduly surprised by this disclosure. Even the great Shakespeare himself addressed the first one hundred and twenty-six of his famous ''Sonnets'' to a handsome young man, usually in tender, sometimes arguably in homoerotic, tones. There were of course still others, such as Marlowe and Barnfield, who were far more explicit than this, and left no doubt at all about their proclivities and interests.
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Finally, the Edward Woodward mentioned above as the son of the Thomas Woodward of Lambeth Marsh, Surrey, appears to have been the same man who married in London in February, 1662-3: “Edward Woodward, of Lambeth Marsh, Surrey, Esq., … and Elizabeth Turner of St. Andrew’s, Holborn, widow, [were married at] St. Gregory’s or St. Bartholomew the Less, London.” (34) We will note here that this Edward Woodward appears to have been named for his great-great-grandfather of the same name.
 
Finally, the Edward Woodward mentioned above as the son of the Thomas Woodward of Lambeth Marsh, Surrey, appears to have been the same man who married in London in February, 1662-3: “Edward Woodward, of Lambeth Marsh, Surrey, Esq., … and Elizabeth Turner of St. Andrew’s, Holborn, widow, [were married at] St. Gregory’s or St. Bartholomew the Less, London.” (34) We will note here that this Edward Woodward appears to have been named for his great-great-grandfather of the same name.
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So much for attempting research on people living in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England, right? The deeper one digs, the greater the unresolvable puzzles one apparently turns up.  
 
So much for attempting research on people living in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England, right? The deeper one digs, the greater the unresolvable puzzles one apparently turns up.  
  
We here have so many intriguing, unanswered (and unanswerable?) questions. The hopeful news, however, is that this present effort is the result of only a few weeks research; let us see what future opportunities may reveal.
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We here have so many intriguing, unanswered (and unanswerable?) questions regarding both Thomas Woodward the immigrant to colonial Virginia, and all of these other "Thomas Woodwards" recorded in Seventeenth-Century English sources, who may or may not have been identical with him. The hopeful news, however, is that this present effort is the result of only a few weeks research; let us see what future opportunities may reveal.
  
 
==Footnotes==
 
==Footnotes==

Latest revision as of 07:02, 25 March 2009

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