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Historical Glossary (t-z)

Tillotson, John (1630-1694), English writer and Archbishop of Canterbury. Tillotson attended Cambridge University where he eventually taught as well as pursued theological studies. He was ordained by a Scottish bishop about 1661 and was identified with the Presbyterians until the Act of Uniformity in 1662. According to this act all ministers and teachers who did not agree to use the Book of Common Prayer would be expelled from English churches and schools. Tillotson studied the writings of the early church fathers and won the approval of a large following as well as Charles II for his clear, well-reasoned, and (for that time) brief sermons as well as his ability to counteract puritan ideas. He was a member of the liberal faction of the Church of England in the time of Charles II. Known as Latitudinarians, they opposed the doctrinal rigidity of both high church Anglicans and the Puritans.

Many years after Tillotson's death, Virginia colonists such as William Byrd II and the Prentis family in Williamsburg had volumes of his sermons in their libraries. One historian calls Archbishop Tillotson "the most popular preacher of them all," noting that his works appear in nearly every southern colony. A favorite of monarchs William and Mary, Tillotson aided James Blair in getting a charter for the College of William and Mary. He was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1691 until his death three years later.

Toleration, Act of (1689), legislation allowing Protestant dissenters from the Anglican church (nonconformists such as Baptists, Quakers, and Presbyterians) to worship as they pleased in premises licensed by Anglican bishops. Toleration was not extended to Roman Catholics. Both Catholics and dissenters continued to be effectively barred from holding public office because of the Test Act (1673). It required officeholders to receive communion according to Anglican doctrine, to swear allegiance to the monarch, and to affirm the monarch's supremacy as head of the Church of England.

The first notice taken in Virginia of the Act of Toleration occurred in 1699 when the General Assembly passed "An act for the more effectual suppressing of Blasphemy, Swearing, Cursing, Drunkenness and Sabbath breaking," which included an exemption from penalties for not attending their Anglican parish churches for qualified dissenters.

Transfer Day (1729), transference of authority to the president and faculty of the College of William and Mary. In 1693 when the charter for the College of William and Mary was granted, eighteen trustees were nominated to serve as the board of visitors and governors. They controlled the College's revenues, supervised expenditures, and provided guidance and direction. Once the College achieved its full complement of faculty (six masters or professors and a president) and was organized into a cohesive body, the charter, statutes, and authority were to be transferred to the President and his colleagues, who would then seat a representative in the House of Burgesses. Transfer Day occurred on August 15, 1729. Throughout the remainder of the eighteenth and on into the nineteenth century, Transfer Day was celebrated as an important day in the College calendar. By 1777 it had come to be called, inaccurately, Founder's Day.

Voltaire (1694-1778), pen name of François Marie Arouet, French satirist, philosopher, historian, and dramatist. He was educated at the Jesuit College of Louis-le-Grand in Paris. Eschewing a career in law, Voltaire gained early fame as a playwright and later as a successful historian, biographer, and essayist. His wit and biting satires often earned Voltaire the displeasure of those he attacked. He was imprisoned in the Bastille at least twice and was forced into exile to England between 1726 and 1729. Voltaire eventually found refuge in Lorraine and took up residence in the court of Frederick the Great and at Geneva before moving to Ferney on the French-Swiss border in 1758. This remained his home until his death while visiting Paris in 1778.

Voltaire was a rationalist whose goal was to teach people to think clearly. He admired the personal liberty of the English people, which he believed allowed such rational thinkers as John Locke and Sir Isaac Newton to emerge. In Lettres Philosophiques he introduced the French to English science and philosophy. In 1738 he further popularized the ideas of Isaac Newton in Elements de la philosophie de Newton. Candide (1759), his best known work today, is a satire on the optimistic philosophy of Leibniz and also a call for a practical philosophy.

Although Voltaire was a noted anti-Christian for his attacks on religious institutions, which he characterized as intolerant and priest-dominated, he was not an atheist. He so strongly supported theism that he was viewed as a reactionary by some members of the Enlightenment. Because he campaigned tirelessly against tyranny, cruel punishment, and fanaticism of all types, Voltaire was able to maintain his leadership of the Enlightenment movement even as it passed from the rationalism he embraced toward the romanticism of the late eighteenth century.

Walpole, Sir Robert (1676-1745), chief advisor and administrator to George I and George II, 1721-1742. Leader of the Whigs, twice chancellor of the exchequer, secretary of war, and treasurer of the navy, Walpole filled the position that was eventually to be called prime minister. He pursued a course of social and political stability for Great Britain that included the promotion of commercial prosperity and expansion of the state.

Walpole's interest in efficient revenue collection brought Virginia to his notice. To increase revenue and discourage fraud, he proposed an excise scheme where complicated customs duties on tobacco were to be replaced by internal excise duties on tobacco warehoused and retailed in Great Britain. Evidence suggests Walpole prompted Virginia governor William Gooch to introduce the idea to the General Assembly. Planters favored the proposal because it transferred the taxes paid by the planters to the British consumers. The excise bill, finally introduced in March 1733, was greeted with hostility, and Walpole withdrew it. While this attempt at fiscal expansion of the state failed, Walpole's successors continued to extend financial control over the colonies.

Walpole's ministry fell in 1742 because of his mismanagement of the war with Spain and also because of generally corrupt methods, particularly in rigged elections. He was the father of author Horace Walpole.

Watt, James (1736-1819), Scottish engineer and inventor. He studied mathematical instrument making at the University of Glasgow. While there, he was asked to repair a model of a Newcomen steam engine. In 1765 Watt made the single most important improvement to steam engines by developing the principle of a separate condenser. This way the cylinder could be insulated to retain heat, the steam condensed outside of the cylinder, non-condensable gases pumped out, and the efficiency of the engine greatly increased.

In 1775 Watt entered into partnership with Matthew Boulton and began producing steam engines on a large scale. In order for the engines to be more universally applicable, a method needed to be found to convert the linear piston motion to a rotative motion. In 1782 Watt introduced a double-acting steam engine that had steam alternately applied above and below a piston to provide a power stroke in both directions. While Watt cannot be credited with inventing the steam engine, his improvements made it wholly practical.

Other important inventions of Watt's include a governor to regulate the speed of an engine and to produce an even motion even when the load varied, a throttle valve, and the concept of horsepower, precisely defined. Watt was a fellow of the royal societies of both London and Edinburgh.

Watts, Issac (1674-1748), English clergyman, nonconformist theologian, and one of the most popular hymn writers of his day. He made hymn singing a strong, devotional force quite unlike the stern, unemotional canticles of Calvinism. Watts's hymns dealt with tender faith, serene piety, and joyousness.

Before Watts's works were published, his hymns circulated in manuscript and were given out line by line to the congregations. When they appeared in print, they were immediately successful, reaching an annual output of 500,000 copies. His major collections were Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1706) and Psalms of David (1719), together containing approximately 600 tunes. He was also responsible for the first children's hymn book, Divine and Moral Songs (1720). Many of his hymns are still in use, such as "Joy to the World," "O God Our Help in Ages Past," and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."

Wedgwood, Josiah (1730-1795), English potter and manufacturer. Born to a family of Staffordshire potters, he first reached acclaim with a uniform green glaze and "cauliflower ware" in the shape of various fruits and vegetables. In 1762 his experiments resulted in the perfection of a cream colored earthenware, a set of which so pleased Queen Charlotte that she allowed him to call it "Queen's Ware." The cream colored ware was universally successful and widely imitated. A 1771 inventory of the Raleigh Tavern lists Queen's Ware items.

In 1775 Wedgwood perfected jasperware, which he considered one of his greatest achievements as it was the culmination of extensive experimentation. Jasperware is a fine semi-porcelain body that can be white or tinted with black or various pastel hues and is ideal for bas-relief decoration and cameos.

Wedgwood was sympathetic to the American Revolution, and several of his works depict American themes and patriots. His discoveries and understanding of form, function, design, and marketing techniques helped revolutionize the pottery industry.

Wesley, John (1703-1791) and Charles (1707-1788), English evangelists and founders of Methodism. In 1729 as students at Oxford University they formed a religious society (nicknamed the Holy Club) devoted to Bible study and prayer and the promotion of piety and morality.

Later, at the insistence of James Oglethorpe, governor of Georgia, the two were prevailed upon to minister to the spiritual needs of the colony and to act as missionaries to the displaced Indian tribes. This trip in 1736-1737 was their only visit to the colonies.

Though ordained in the Anglican church, disapproval of their methods of preaching closed pulpits to John and Charles but they continued their ministry in the itinerate style of the Great Awakening. John Wesley assumed the role of preacher and Charles that of hymn writer. Some of his more familiar hymns include "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" and "Love Divine, All Love Excelling."

Both John and Charles were concerned with their own salvation and had conversion experiences. Throughout their ministry, salvation by faith, social consciousness, and repentance were prominent themes in their preaching. George Whitefield wrote in 1768, "If you desire . . . a definition of Methodism . . . it is no more nor less than 'faith working by love.'"

West, Benjamin (1738-1820), American painter. By age twelve he had sold several canvases of the folk art genre after studying with artist William Williams. He later studied with John Wollaston but was lacking in formal education. West began to develop his own style and ultimately went to New York in 1759; a year later, at age twenty-one, he went to Rome to study.

In 1763 West was enthusiastically received in London and became official historical painter and friend to George III. He was president of the Royal Academy of Arts by 1792, where he taught many American artists: Stuart, Copley, Trumbull, Sully, Charles Willson Peale, and Rembrandt Peale. Because he brought more natural poses, originality, and reason to painting, he was an exceptional teacher as well as one of America's Old Masters.

Whitefield, George (1714-1770), English evangelist. He was extremely popular during the revival movement known as the Great Awakening that swept the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s.

Whitefield attended Oxford University, where he joined the Wesley brothers' "Holy Club," whose highly structured religious habits earned them the derisive name "Methodists." Ordained a deacon in 1736, Whitefield joined the Wesleys as a missionary to Georgia in 1738. He was ordained an Anglican priest in 1739. Whitefield began open-air preaching and was soon threatened with excommunication by his superiors. Thereafter, he was barred from most Anglican pulpits. Whitefield embarked again for America a few months later and visited several colonies including Virginia on his way to Georgia. During this trip, Whitefield preached at Bruton Parish Church at the invitation of Commissary James Blair on December 14, 1739.

Whitefield spent the remainder of his life journeying between the American colonies and England, preaching the "new light" message to large crowds. He stressed the need for each individual to experience a rebirth in Jesus. His preaching was so exciting and powerful that his audiences, which frequently included slaves, responded with great emotion. Whitefield continued to preach until his death in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1770.

Wilkes, John, (1727-1797), English politician and journalist. In both England and America he was as a symbol for constitutional rights and freedoms. He came to this distinction by attacking the king and ministers in several virulent articles that appeared in his periodical The North Briton. Wilkes was subsequently arrested and imprisoned and eventually lost his seat in Parliament. In 1768 he was reelected to the House of Commons as representative of Middlesex County but was denied his seat. This apparent arbitrary treatment of Wilkes by the king and his supporters rallied the populace of both England and America on his behalf. During this period he won several popular trials that had the effect of not only allowing him to reclaim his fortune but also reaffirmed in the popular mind the constitutional liberties of man. Because so many people felt that his constitutional rights had been violated, he was considered a virtual martyr to the cause of liberty. Wilkes supported the American cause.

He eventually did represent Middlesex in Parliament and later became Lord Mayor of London, reconciling with the king.

Wollstonecraft, Mary (1759-1797), English writer and feminist. She drew upon the tragic experiences of her sister and friends as material for her writings that focused on the education and rights of women. After witnessing her father's abuse of her mother and her brother-in-law's abuse of her sister, she published the Wrongs of Women. The death of a close friend in childbirth became the subject for a pamphlet entitled Thoughts on the Education of Daughters. In 1792 she published her most successful piece, Vindication of The Rights of Woman. Her first marriage ended in 1796 as a result of her husband's infidelity. The next year she married William Godwin when she was four months pregnant and later died in childbirth.

Wollstonecraft is described as an "impulsive and enthusiastic woman, with great charms of person and manner." A follower of Rousseau, she appears to have assumed the role of an eighteenth-century "feminist."

Wren, Sir Christopher (1632-1723), English architect. Wren is best known for rebuilding London in the baroque style after the great fire of 1666. Architecture, however, was his second career, following a period of scientific study. Wren finished at Oxford University in 1653, when he took the chair of astronomy at Gresham College in London. His rooms there served as a meeting place for men such as Newton, Halley, Boyle, and Evelyn. This group was instrumental in founding the Royal Society. Wren served as its president from 1680 to 1682.

In 1660 Wren became professor of astronomy at Oxford. The next year he made his career change to architecture when Charles II asked him to be Surveyor General of his Majesty's Works. The tragic fire that destroyed medieval London in September 1666 provided Wren with the opportunity to become an immortal of English architecture. Before the fire was thoroughly quenched Wren had shown the king plans for rebuilding and redesigning the city plan. Over the next half century Wren designed not only St. Paul's Cathedral, but over fifty parish churches, thirty-six of the companies' halls, the customs house, and several private houses, including Marlborough House. Between 1670 and 1672 he rebuilt the Temple Bar.

Wren was knighted in 1672 and served as a member of Parliament on several occasions. His official commissions and influence reached outside London, including the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 1683, additions to Inigo Jones's Greenwich Hospital, the Chelsea Hospital, and modifications and additions to Hampton Court.

It is unlikely that with so many official duties for the king Wren designed the new College of William and Mary in Virginia; it is possible, however, that one of his deputies designed the College in a modest adaptation of Wren's classical baroque style.

Zenger, John Peter (1697-1746), German-born American printer and journalist. In the early 1730s he was established as the anti-administration editor and printer opposed to the New York governorship of William Cosby. In 1734 he was held responsible for polemical articles written by his reporters for the New York Weekly Journal. Zenger was arrested for seditious libel and jailed. The trial raised the issue of whether the truth of a libel was a valid defense and set the precedent of giving juries, not the court, final say in such matters. Zenger was found not guilty of libel. The trial resulted in the right to criticize freely the conduct of public men.

Zenger eventually became public printer for New York and later for New Jersey as well.