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Historical Glossary (a-c)

Adam, Robert (1728-1792), English architect and furniture designer. Adam was one of four sons of architect William Adam. Robert went to Italy in 1754 and ten years later published The Ruins of the Palace of Diocletian. Much of his subsequent work reflected the influence of these studies. In 1773 Robert and his brother James began publishing Works In Architecture, which contained the designs of many of their works and was instrumental in popularizing the Adam style of ornament. He believed that the smallest detail of decoration and furnishing was within the field of the architect. He illustrated designs for furniture, carpets, lamps, andirons, and articles of silver. Hepplewhite and Sheraton derived much from the work of Adam, whose influence on the decorative arts prevailed from around 1760 until his death in 1792.

With the arrival of Lord Botetourt in Williamsburg in October 1768, the neoclassical style in the decorative arts was introduced to Virginia. The ideas and style of Adam became part of the decor of the Palace and eventually of the homes of the gentry.

Arne, Thomas A. (1710-1778), English-born composer. He is particularly well known for his contribution to English theater music of the eighteenth century. In 1740 he produced the masque Alfred with the song "Rule Britannia" that became a very popular patriotic song in Great Britain. Arne's ballad opera Love in a Village was produced successfully in Williamsburg in 1771, and the music from it was published in collections of songs sold here. Robert Carter ordered music from Love in a Village only four years after its American premiere at Charleston and almost a year before its first Williamsburg performance.

Asbury, Francis (1745-1816), English-born Methodist leader. "Methodism" was named for a strictly disciplined religious group of Oxford students led by John and Charles Wesley. Sent to America by John Wesley in 1771, Asbury was the prototype circuit rider, traveling five to six thousand miles a year on horseback and preaching an estimated twenty thousand sermons. Asbury preached in Williamsburg on several occasions including December 1782 when he recorded in his journal that "worldly glory is departed [from Williamsburg] -- divine glory it never had any."

American Methodists formally separated from the Episcopal Church in 1784 at a conference in Baltimore during which Asbury was consecrated bishop. The influence of the dissenting religions on the framers of the constitution went beyond religious tolerance and separation of church and state. The evangelical concept of individual responsibility and equality in the sight of God was significant in the development of this new governmental system.

Bach, Johann Christian (1735-1782), composer and performer. The youngest son of Johann Sebastian, he came to England in 1762. In London he was appointed music master to the queen, and beginning in 1764 he and K. F. Abel performed in a series of concerts that established regular public concerts in London. That same year Johann Christian's music impressed a young visitor to London, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (who was eight years old at the time). The style of music composed by J. C. Bach would become the most important single influence on Mozart, just as that composed by his brother Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-1788) was to be the primary influence on Haydn.

We think of Johann Sebastian (1685-1750) as the famous Bach, but the name in eighteenth-century Europe and in the colonies would have suggested his sons, who were composing in the new monophonic styles (predominantly melody supported by harmony). Only much later did the "old-fashioned" polyphonic style of counterpoint used by their father become so well known. It was the music of J. C. and C.P.E. Bach, and not J.S. Bach, that the Jeffersons and other Virginia families owned.

J. C. Bach is also important for his role in popularizing the piano (pianoforte). In 1768 at a concert at Thatched House Tavern in London he played a "Solo on the Pianoforte." Apparently this was the first time that the piano was publicly used as a solo instrument in London.

Bacon's Rebellion (1676) was a reflection of the unstable and destructive character of Virginia's seventeenth-century society. From the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, the colony had been marked not only by a devastating death rate but also by tragic Indian relations and exploitive use of land and labor for tobacco production. Many Virginians became alarmed by Governor Berkeley's poor leadership and weak response in handling the Indian threat by merely suggesting a series of forts be built along the frontier rather than dispatching troops.

In the spring of 1676 Nathaniel Bacon, a member of England's gentry newly arrived in Virginia, became the military leader of a band of Virginians who armed themselves against the Indians in defiance of the governor. Berkeley responded by unsuccessfully dispatching men to confront Bacon and declared him a rebel.

Until Bacon's death from natural causes on October 26, 1676 he and Governor Berkeley struggled to control Virginia militarily and politically, embroiling Virginians in civil war. After the Assembly enacted many of Bacon's demands, Bacon with five hundred men captured the government and demanded from Berkeley the power to fight the Indians. That was granted on June 25 but later withdrawn. The governor, however, could not raise loyal troops to assert his authority and was forced to retreat to the Eastern Shore. Berkeley later returned to Jamestown to prepare for Bacon's attack but was forced to return to the Eastern Shore while Bacon burned the capital. Virginians, hesitant to fight one another, continued to vacillate in their support of Berkeley and Bacon in the ever-increasing confusion. Bacon's men, however, now turned to plundering loyalist plantations in Gloucester County and elsewhere. Bacon's sudden death left his men without a strong leader, and in January 1677 Berkeley returned to power and sought reparations for the loyalists.

During the Rebellion the Indians probably suffered the most. Many were killed and a number of their villages were destroyed. Virginia changed character after Bacon's Rebellion becoming more stable as the Indian population was pushed farther west making more land available to free white men. At the same time the labor force shifted from white indentured servants to black slaves and white men united as racism developed to protect the master class.

Beggar's Opera, The, which opened in London in 1728, was an overwhelming theatrical success, running for 32 consecutive nights. The work heralded a new form of musical drama -- the ballad opera. Unlike the prevalent Italian opera with its formal arias, librettist John Gay and musical arranger John Pepusch set the story of Macheath and Polly to popular contemporary ballads. The ballad opera was to become a very popular form of entertainment both in England and the colonies. Hundreds were written during the eighteenth century.

Gay's opera was also a scathing social and political satire in which the questions of political self-interest and the double standards the aristocracy imposed on the rest of society are readily apparent. No doubt many in the audiences read allusions to the current ministry into the play, casting Whig leader Robert Walpole in none too favorable a light. Gay's subsequent ballad opera, Polly, was suppressed.

The Beggar's Opera received its first American performance in New York in 1751. It is possible that the Hallam troupe staged it in Williamsburg as early as 1752, but the first known performance was in 1769 under the musical direction of Peter Pelham.

Billings, William (1746-1800), American composer. Born in Boston, Billings, a hide tanner by trade, wrote hymns and anthems and was a popularizer of "fuguing tunes." He was one of the first to compose truly American music. Billings's song "Chester" was well known as a hymn and a marching tune during the Revolutionary War.

Black Baptist Church, early black congregation in Williamsburg. Although not the first separate black church in Virginia or in America, the African American Baptist congregation formed in the Williamsburg area in the late 1770s or early 1780s was probably the earliest formed by black leaders without apparent assistance from white preachers. Two black preachers--first Moses, then Gowan Pamphlet--began preaching to "people of color" meeting in secret on the outskirts of Williamsburg. Gowan was a slave in Jane Vobe's household as early as 1783, and it is likely that Moses was also a slave. They both endured physical punishment as a result of their preaching activities.

Moses' fate is unknown, but Gowan Pamphlet continued ministering to the congregation. In 1793, Pamphlet, by then a free man, gained membership in the regional (white) Dover Baptist Association for his African American church. Membership ranged as high as five to seven hundred in some years. By 1818 Jesse Cole of Williamsburg had given a carriage house on Nassau Street for their use. The church continued to flourish, apparently with minimal interference from whites, until events in the 1830s and 1840s brought reorganization under white ministers. In 1855 the carriage house was replaced by a brick church that was used until 1955.

Blair, The Reverend James (1655-1743), Virginia clergyman and founder of the College of William and Mary. He was born in Banffshire, Scotland, one of five children of the Reverend Robert Blair. Educated at Marischal and Edinburgh, he was ordained a minister of the Church of Scotland in 1679. That same year he refused to subscribe to the test oath of James II (required of Scottish ministers) and accepted an invitation to go to England. There he became acquainted with Henry Compton, Bishop of London, who in 1685 sent him to Virginia to serve as an Anglican minister in Henrico Parish. Arriving in Virginia, Blair quickly allied himself with some of the most influential families in the colony. In 1687 he married Sarah Harrison of Charles City County. Sarah wrote her own chapter in history when she repeatedly refused to promise to obey in her wedding vows.

Blair became Commissary (representative) to the Bishop of London in 1690, founder and president of the College of William and Mary in 1693 (a position he held for fifty years), member of the Virginia Council in 1694 (a position he held for forty nine years), and rector of Bruton Parish Church in 1710. Much of his life was involved in power struggles and historians credit him with the recall of three governors (Andros, Nicholson, and Spotswood). As a religious leader Blair was a strong preacher and writer with a down-to-earth moralistic, disciplined approach to living. The Foundation Library owns early copies of his five volumes of sermons: Our Saviour's Divine Sermon on the Mount.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, the ancestral home of the dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It is the only private house in England to be officially called a "Palace," a name usually reserved for the residences of royalty and bishops. Blenheim was the gift of a grateful nation to war hero William Churchill, first duke of Marlborough, for his outstanding victory over the French at the Battle of Blenheim (1704) during the War of Spanish Succession. Queen Anne gave the duke her royal manor at Woodstock as a site for its construction.

John Vanbrugh was the architect and construction began in 1705. He was assisted by his close friend Nicholas Hawksmoor, chief assistant of Christopher Wren. Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor collaborated on Blenheim as they had previously done on Castle Howard, Yorkshire. Blenheim Palace is a massive structure, its buildings and courts covering seven acres. It is in the baroque style, heavy and powerful, a fitting tribute to a hero. The gardens include a vast formal parterre at the south front with an immense park surrounding the other three sides. This type of garden was the basis for Alexander Spotswood's design for the construction of the Palace gardens in Williamsburg.

Botetourt Statue (1773), memorial to Norborne Berkeley, Baron de Botetourt. The statue was commissioned nine months after his death and is tangible evidence of the affection and appreciation Virginians felt for this "best of governors and the best of men." English sculptor Richard Hayward was commissioned to create the statue. In 1773 the two thousand pound figure arrived in Williamsburg and was erected in the Capitol piazza. The college purchased it in 1797. It is appropriate that the statue stand at the college because Lord Botetourt enjoyed a special relationship with that institution. During his tenure as governor (1768-1770), he sponsored the Botetourt Medal, an award for academic excellence which is still presented.

Boyle, Robert (1627-1691), father of modern chemistry. He separated chemistry from alchemy and gave the first precise definitions of a chemical element, a chemical reaction, and chemical analysis. An important law describing certain characteristics of natural gases bears his name.

James Blair was in London when Boyle died in December 1691, leaving the bulk of his estate to be distributed for pious and charitable purposes. Blair secured funds from Boyle's executor for the Brafferton that housed the Indian school at the College of William and Mary. Annual rents from Brafferton Manor in Yorkshire, purchased as an investment for Boyle's estate, supported the Indian school until the Revolution.

Brafferton, The (1723), the College of William and Mary's Indian school. It was named after the Brafferton estates in Yorkshire that had been purchased by Sir Robert Boyle's executors to carry out one of the physicist's bequests -- to provide funds from the estate to educate Indian youths in Christian religion so that they might eventually return to their tribes as missionaries. The school was called a "noble failure," and there is no record that a single Indian boy went back to his tribe and served in that capacity. With the onset of the American Revolution and the cut-off of funds from England, the Indian school ceased to function.

Bray School (1760-1774), Williamsburg school for black children, slave and free. It was established on September 29, l760. The English philanthropic group known as Dr. Bray's Associates organized the school as an instructional attempt to christianize the slaves in colonial North America.

Robert Carter Nicholas served as the school's trustee during most of the years of its operation. Likewise, Mrs. Anne Wager was the only teacher at the school. Upon her death in 1774, the school closed. There were about thirty students at the school at any given time. Most were from six to eight years old, although a few were as young as three or as old as ten. Masters who enrolled slaves in the school represented a cross section of local political leaders, craftsmen, and tavern keepers.

Bray, The Reverend Dr. Thomas (1656-1730), English clergymen, born in Marton, Shropshire, and educated at Oxford. He was the founder of and the prime mover behind the formation of three Anglican missionary and philanthropic organizations in England, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (1698), the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (1701), and the Associates of Dr. Bray (1723, reorganized in 1729). In the fall of 1695, Henry Compton, Bishop of London, selected Bray to be his commissary in Maryland. Bray returned to England after securing an act establishing the Church of England in Maryland in May 1702.

Goals of the S.P.C.K. included supplying the colonies with missionaries, providing libraries for missionaries and clergy in England, and establishing charity schools in England. When Bray returned home from America, he obtained a charter for a missionary society, the S.P.G., to take over responsibility for sending missionaries to plantations. Thereafter, the S.P.C.K. devoted itself to educational endeavors in England. Conversion of Indians and blacks in America did not have high priority in the S.P.G. and was not to take institutional form until the establishment of the Associates of Dr. Bray in 1723. The Associates continued their efforts to instruct and convert slaves in America after Dr. Bray's death. It was this organization that established the Bray School in Williamsburg.

Bridgeman, Charles (ca. 1680-1738), English gardener, surveyor, and landscape architect. He began his career as an apprentice to George London and Henry Wise and worked under Vanbrugh and Wise in the building of Blenheim Palace. Bridgeman began a profitable career on his own in 1713 with the design of a vast formal garden at Stowe for Lord Cobham.

Bridgeman and his former fellow apprentice at Brompton Nursery, Stephen Switzer (1682-1745), were the innovators of a new transitional style of gardening called the "forest" style. It was characterized by long grand avenues and extensive plantings of forest trees. These avenues were called "rides" and were intended to ease and replace the critical timber shortage in England at that time. This new approach was a departure from the garden designs of their predecessors, who forced their formal, bilateral geometry on a site regardless of the topography or vegetation.

Bridgeman's greatest innovation was popularizing the use of the "fosse" or sunken fence to enclose his gardens rather than a tall brick or stone wall. Though Walpole credits him with inventing this enclosure method in his design for the garden at Stowe in 1713, the fosse, or ha-ha, was documented in France as early as 1709. In 1728 Bridgeman became royal gardener to George II, a post he held until his death. Charles Bridgeman was a notable figure in the transition from formal to natural styles in English gardening, but both he and Switzer do not appear to have been forceful or imaginative enough to take their ideas further.

Brown, Lancelot "Capability" (1715-1783), English gardener and landscape architect. He was born to a family of yeoman farmers in Northumberland in 1715. In 1732 Lancelot left school at age sixteen to start work at Kirkharle Hall for Sir William Loraine. While there he learned all the basic practicalities of estate improvement, including some garden management.

After working briefly as a gardener at Benwell and Kiddington Hall estates, Brown assumed the position of head gardener at Stowe, home of Lord Cobham, in 1741. He proved to be so able an administrator and overseer that Cobham soon willingly lent Brown to his friends and acquaintances to advise and assist them with their own country house and garden developments. In 1751 he left Stowe and set up in practice on his own.

Brown designed gardens that made the landscape simpler and barer than those laid out by his predecessors. He abolished the parterre, ornaments, and topiary. Brown gave the gentry what they so earnestly desired, a more "natural" looking landscape that was far less labor-intensive and cheaper to maintain. Above all, the house became all important in the garden. The garden was to be viewed from the house, and the house was also to be the garden's chief feature.

Brown was nicknamed "Capability" because he was fond of using that term in describing to his clients the latent potentials of their estates -- "There are great capabilities here, Sir!" he would say. His obituary notice in 1783 concluded: "So closely did he copy nature that his works will be mistaken" for it.

Carroll, Father John, (1735-1815), first Roman Catholic bishop in America and founder of Georgetown College in 1789. He was a member of a Maryland family that held great political and economic power during the eighteenth century. Although the Carrolls were Catholic, they influenced an overwhelmingly hostile Anglican colony in Maryland. This great family included Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Daniel Carroll, a signer of the Constitution. John Carroll was educated by Jesuit priests at Bohemian Manor, a famous plantation staffed by the Jesuit Order in northeastern Maryland. By the time he was sixteen, Carroll had resolved to pursue a religious vocation in the Jesuit community. With the blessings of his family he set sail for Flanders where he entered a Jesuit seminary and was ordained a priest by 1765. He spent the next eight years teaching and fulfilling his ministerial roles in Europe before returning to America.

After the Revolutionary War the Catholic population of less than fifty thousand still was centered in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York. The Revolution had removed the humiliating penal legislation upon Catholics, but the community was not unified by the presence of a bishop. By 1790 many Catholics had immigrated from Europe to the United States and the Vatican realized that the growing Catholic community needed a native bishop. Without a bishop, some Catholic parishes practiced their own form of church government, hiring and firing priests at will. Carroll as superior could not stop the problem of trusteeism, as it became known. Pope Pius VI requested that Carroll become first bishop of his American flock. In 1790, Carroll was consecrated as bishop in England and Baltimore was proclaimed as the mother see of the diocese of America. Carroll remained bishop until his death in 1814.

Cartwright, The Reverend Edmund (1743-1823), English inventor. By 1780 Cartwright had several inventions to his credit and in 1785 designed the first power loom. New mechanical means of carding and spinning had resulted in large quantities of loomable thread, but the hand looms of the period could not keep pace with these new machines. Cartwright had never seen a loom in operation and knew nothing about weaving when he patented his first loom in 1785. It worked with a vertical warp and a spring-operated mechanism and took two men to operate. The loom did weave cloth but not very well. Cartwright finally "condescended to see how other people wove" and redesigned his machine. A second loom was patented in 1786 and a third in 1787. They were still complex and not very successful; however, they did contain basic elements that were used on future looms. Power for Cartwright's looms was originally supplied by animals but he was using steam engines for power by 1789. He went on to develop additional machines and eventually became the owner of a mill in Doncaster.

Catesby, Mark (1679-1749), illustrator and author of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. He first came to Virginia in 1712 with his sister Elizabeth on her voyage from London to Williamsburg to join her husband, Dr. William Cocke. Catesby remained in Virginia for seven years collecting and illustrating natural history specimens. He returned to England long enough to procure financial sponsors for a second trip to the colonies, 1722-1726, when he collected information to finish his natural history publication.

Back in England, Catesby found that hiring an engraver for his drawings was prohibitively expensive; therefore, as he explained in the preface of his two volume work, he learned the process of engraving himself. Of the 220 prints in The Natural History, Catesby engraved all but two. The prints beautifully illustrate plants, birds, fish, insects, snakes, and other forms of natural life and are accompanied by text in both English and French.

Chatsworth (1687-1707), Derbyshire, ancestral home of the dukes of Devonshire. The original structure of 1553 was occupied by both sides during the English Civil War and was badly in need of repair when inherited in 1684 by William Cavendish, fourth earl of Devonshire. The earl was a leader in the movement to exclude Catholic James II from the throne and was one of the seven signers of the petition inviting William of Orange to rule England. He was made high steward of the new court and was created duke of Devonshire and marquis of Hartington in 1694. The duke's last public act was to assist in the Union of England and Scotland in 1707.

What started out as a face-lift for a decaying Elizabethan structure resulted in the rebuilding of the entire house over a twenty-year period. The original architect was William Talman, whose work can be seen in the reconstruction of the south and east faces. It is a baroque structure typical of the reign of William III. The gardens still include formal parterres and enormous waterworks such as a great cascade with a series of fountains and a waterfall.

Chippendale, Thomas, Sr. (1718-1779), English cabinetmaker. He was born in Worcester, son of a cabinetmaker and wood carver. He moved to London in 1727 where he opened his own shop in 1749 with James Rannie. The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director was first published in 1754 with a reprint the following year and a third edition in 1762. The Director contained 160 engraved plates of furniture designs in the French rococo, Chinese, and gothic styles; through it, Chippendale became a leading force in popularizing the rococo style in England.

Thomas Haig joined Chippendale after the death of Rannie. Thomas, Jr. (1749-1822) also worked with Chippendale's cabinetmaking operation, a large and successful business that included furnishings for Nostell Priory and Harewood House (under Robert Adam's direction). Few pieces directly attributed to Thomas Chippendale, Sr., survive today.

Clarendon Code (1661-1665), English laws repressing nonconformists. Upon the restoration of Charles II to the throne of England in 1660, Parliament returned the Church of England to the position of established church, a preeminence it had enjoyed in the years before the Civil War. It then enacted a series of harsh laws known as the Clarendon Code, named for Charles's chief minister Sir Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon. These statutes had as their principal objective the exclusion of nonconformists, both Protestant and Catholic, from all places and positions of public trust. Though unevenly enforced and softened through Declarations of Indulgence proclaimed by both Charles II and James II, the Clarendon Code was successful in keeping nonconformists from participating in national political life, municipal administration, and the universities, and largely prevented them from establishing their own schools.

The grandees who chased the Catholic James II from England's throne and brought in William and Mary in his place were convinced that further religious strife would imperil their nation. Thus in May 1689 Parliament enacted the Toleration Act. Protestant dissenters were granted the right of free public worship, which they had been denied under the Clarendon Code. But they remained excluded from public life for decades to come. It was this model of Anglican Church establishment and the exclusion of dissenters and Catholics from public life that framed Virginia's political and religious life until after the Revolution.

Collinson, Peter (1694-1768), English Quaker and woolen merchant of London. "In the very early part of my life," Collinson recalled, "I had a love for gardening." He became a fellow of the Royal Society when he was 35. His garden at Mill Hill near London was famous: "My Garden is now a Paradise of Delight," he wrote to Linneaus in September 1765. Collinson imported seeds from all over the world. From his contacts in North America he supplied boxes of seeds and plants to English dukes and earls, and to such well-known gardeners as William Penn and Philip Miller of the Chelsea Physic Garden. It is said that what Collinson and his North American coterie of correspondents did for both English and American gardens has no parallel elsewhere at any other time in garden history.

Commonwealth of Virginia Virginia is one of the fifty states as designated by the United States Constitution, but it has never officially called itself a "state." It adopted the term "commonwealth" soon after the Revolution began.

Historically, the words "common" (shared by all) and "wealth" or "weal" (well-being or welfare) used together meant something like "public welfare." By the 16th century, "commonwealth" became an ordinary English term meaning the whole body of people constituting a nation or state, or the body politic in which the supreme power is vested in the people–a republic or democratic state.

Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Massachusetts are today the only states that officially designate themselves "commonwealths."

Copley, John Singleton (1738-1815), Boston born American painter. Peter Pelham, Sr., father of Williamsburg organist and jailor, Peter Pelham, married Copley's mother in 1748 and taught his stepson the trade of mezzotint scraper. When he was nineteen Copley was regularly commissioned to produce portraits, but it was his painting of his half-brother, Henry Pelham, that brought him notice in London.

In 1774 Copley went to England and the Continent to study. While in Italy the Revolution broke out and, like Benjamin West, he lived the remainder of his life with his family in England. Copley was self taught and received encouragement from painters like West. He is famous for both his portraits and historical paintings.

Culloden, Battle of (1746), final defeat of the Stuarts in their bid to regain the English throne. Supporters of the deposed English king James II and his heirs were active for many years after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Known as Jacobites (from the Latin for James, Jacobus), these rebels were mostly Scottish and Irish. English politicians also maintained contact with James and his son, James Edward Stuart, until the Hanoverian succession (George I) in 1714 ended any possibility that the Stuart line could return to the English throne peacefully.

Open Jacobite rebellion in 1715-1716 (known as the Fifteen) failed. Subsequent risings and plots culminated in a final effort in 1745-1746 (known as the Forty-Five) by "Bonnie Prince Charlie" -- Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender -- and the Jacobites to retake the throne of England. Charles's highland army was crushed by the English in a short but decisive battle at Culloden Moor near Inverness, Scotland, on April 16, 1746. The last of the Stuart line died in 1807 without heirs.