Thomas Woodward Part 2

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(Tying Up Loose Ends)
(Some observations regarding Thomas Woodward, the immigrant)
 
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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'' ...
 
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 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 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.

Latest revision as of 07:02, 25 March 2009

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