A Genealogical Dictionary of  The First Settlers of New England,
Before 1692

Volume #4
Weld - Weld 

By James Savage

Special thanks to Robert Kraft and his assistant, Benjamin Dunning for scanning this book and to Warren Wetmore for perfecting the text and providing technical help in presenting this work for researchers to enjoy.

Weld Continued:

1631, H. C. 1650; according to cetif. from the present vicar of the parish to my young friend Weld, that the rec. is made and sign. by the f. and obs. his handwrit. was so obscure, that the day and mo. of the bapt. of sec. s. could not be made out. Perhaps the third s. did not live long, at least we hear nothing of any other ch. than the three brot. by him, with their mo. in the William and Francis, leav. London 9 Mar. and arr. at Boston 5 June 1632, he hav. enjoy. the benefit of being excommun. the yr. bef. by the driveling malevolence of archbp. Laud, then only bp. of London. Next mo. he was sett. at Roxbury, and 6 Nov. foll. made freem. but whether he had more ch. or when his w. Margaret d. and a sec. w. Judith was tak. as the Roxbury ch. rec. proves, and other details, are not found.

He was earnest in the synod of 30 Aug. 1637 against the antinom. doctrines of Mr. Wheelwright, in stat. the eighty-two errors, and their confutat. with some unsound axioms as decid. by that grave Assemb. with wh. the first twenty pages of the work, call. a Short Story of the Rise, Reign, and Ruin of the Antinominian's Familists, &c,. publish. by him in London, 1644, are fill. and the authorship of that part would do no discredit to him or any other divine of the land. Of the next twenty-three pages, the proceedings of the Gen. Ct. 2 Oct. (should be Nov.) 1637, another hand may have been the reporter; but no more blame attaches to any other portion, than to the copy of the petition, writ. as Winthrop tells, by William Aspinwall, in favor of Wheelwright, with wh. these proceedings are appropriat. introd. Whatever hand report. these proceed. it could not well have been Gov. Winthrop at least in the full transcr. for on p. 27 it is alleg. that Wheelwright was requir. if he did not in 14 days depart from our jurisdict. "to render hims. at the ho. of Mr. Stanton, one of the magistr. there to abide as a prisoner, till the Ct. should dispose of him." Now this could not have fallen from the Gov. whose narrative in sev. items, p. 246 of Vol. I. varies from this report, and does not name the magistr. but uses the phrase, "one of the magistr." wh. where then only seven, beside hims. and the Dept. But Col. Rec. I. 207 has the name of Stoughton; and no Stanton was ever one of the magistr.

Next comes, strange interject. betw. the report of the judicial proceeding of the Nov. 1637 Court and the Apology for the proceedings of the Gen. Ct. 9 Mar. preced. i. e. Mar. 1636-7, the nauscous detail of the monstrous birth 17 Oct. 1637, by Mrs. Dyer, one of Wheelwright's adherents, as the same was popular, circulat. in Boston, and in almost the same language as Winthrop I. 261-3, has giv. it. A briefer narrat. of her misery in that untimely birth, was print. at London 1642, with other similar cases of misfortune, as I saw in the British Museum. This acco. [[vol. 4, p. 460]] varies only as one relat. of so disgust. a story must be expect. to differ from ano. especial. as every admir. of horrors could then be easi. gratif. when the Gov. had, as he tells us in his hist. by advice of the magistr. and min. caused the decaying remains to be disinterr. Yet what thus bec. fully kn. to prob. most of the men, women, and half gr. ch. within four miles (and Weld liv. only two miles off), is by the Hist. of Boston held for proof, that Winth, not Welde, was the author, as "two men without close confer. could not have writ. things so exactly coinciding." See Drake, 218. 

Ano. proof of the same nature is brot. forward by a writer with the signature of Hutchinson in the recent. issued Historical Magazine for Nov. 1857, fill. almost four pages at the begin. of the No.

After the apology (wh. covers thirteen pages) for the early proceedings at the Gen. Ct. against Wheelwright's Fast sermon, near the top of 59th page, begins prob. Weld's "additions to the conclusion of the book," written in a very different style from the apology, and evident. a continua. from near the bottom of p. 43, and now reaching to the end of the little vol. on p. 66. What gives the chief value to his humble 4to. however, is the Preface, signed T. Welde, in small Rom, cap. for the earlier copies, in small Italic, not cap. in the later. It fills sixteen pages of small type, and is written with great spirit. Equal in pungency to the style of this preface, is that of the conclusions in the last seven pages. Such pungency, using a mild term to express what in the writing of any but a clergym. seems malignity, is not seen in any other writer on that subj. But bef. the Preface is print. a remarkab. address "To the Reader." 

"I meeting with this Book, newly come forth of the press, and being earnestly pressed by divers to perfect it, by laying down the order and sense of this story (wh. in the Book is omit.) tho. for mine own part, I was more slow unto it; not as if I think it contains any thing but truth, but because the names of some parties that acted in our troubles, that have, since that time (I hope) repented, and so God having pardon. their sins in Heaven, I should have been loth to have reviv. them on earth. But considering that their names are already in Print. without any act of mine, and that the necessity of the times call for it. and its requisite that God's great works should be made known, I therefore, in a straight of time, not having had many hours, have drawn up the following Preface, and prefixed hereunto with some additions to the conclusion of the Book. I commend thyself and this to the blessing of God. T. W."

If to disting. the tone and temper of the Apology, that may natural. be presum. the composition of Gov. Winthrop [see his Hist. I. 221] from other parts of the tract, except the documenta. pieces proper [Ib. 248] resort be had to critic. comparis. of style, slight difficult. will attend the separat. of what is betw. the two covers of the binding. [[vol. 4, p. 461]]

Against the errors of Wheelwright, and the fantastic revelations of Mrs. Hutchinson, Welde could not more sincerly show his zeal, than Winthrop but his zeal is denunciatory, fierce, and virulent, while that of the Gov. seems cautious, calm, and moderate in terms, decisive in spirit. Even in type of the same forms, it may be followed, like the fabled river, in its nameless course under the sea, as told by Virgil, En. III. 686, bearing the true, unmixed proof of its fountain: nunc Ore. Arethusa, tuo Siculis confunditur undis.

Some slight regard to a charge, publish, 26 May 1853, in the Hist. of Boston by Mr. Drake, against my argum. as to the authorship of the "Rise, Reign, and Ruin," p. 249 of Vol. I. of Winthrop Hist. of N. E. may decent. now be shown. That my remarks therein involve an accusat. of Welde "as absurd as it is unjust," may pass without comment; but as the Histor. of Boston proceeds to observe on my criticism that "it is criminal so to do," I appeal from his decision to the competent tribunal of gentlemen and scholars in this and all succeed. ages.

Weld had gone him, in comp. with Hugh Peter and Mr. Hibbins in Aug. 1641, they being jointly charg. with a commiss. from the governm. to represent our means and wants, in wh. they met extraord. good success, procuring benefact. to extent of L500. bef. Hibbins's ret. in Aug. foll. I have seen among MSS. in the Col. Libr. copious acco. of Dr. and Cr. of Weld, wh. seems to have suffer, no little suspecion, and rec. some unkind treatm. from our Gen. Ct. wh. hardly ever fail. to be dissatisf. with their agents in Eng. and wh. in Oct. 1645, adopt. a vote, that Mr. Peters and Mr. Weld "having been long absent, may understand the Ct.'s mind, that they desire their presence here, and speedy return." On this ungracious invit, neither came, but ea. gain. destinct. in the mother land. Weld obt. a living at St. Mary Gateshead, Co. Durham, and d. says the rec. of Roxbury ch. (not likely in such a case to be wrong), 23 Mar. 1661; I think it is said, at London. This was soon aft. the Restorat. of the k. and bef. the great ejectm.

Perhaps I may be excus. for along explanat. as to what is said in my sec. ed. of Winthrop in a note on I. 248, publish. 1853. Having never bef. 1842, heard any doubts of the agency of Weld in the publicat. of that interest. little volume of wh. everybody knew he acknowledg. the preface and conclusion, and my suspicion being excited, at the British Museum, by the unexpl. address to the Reader, that suspicion in 1843, was express. by me in a single line of my Gleanings in 3 Mass. Hist. Coll. VIII. 285. Attention was thus drawn to the matter, and it was supposed by some that in Baylies's "Dissuasive from the Errours of the Time," London 1645, and Cotton's "Way of Congrega. Chhs. cleared," [[vol. 4, p. 462]] London 1648, wh. had a reply to some of Baylie's aspersions, it might appear, that Gov. Winthrop was as much engag. as Weld in the publicat. of Short Story of The Rise, Reign, and Ruin. A friend lent me these two works, and they did not produce on me the impress. some persons receiv. perhaps without close examinat. For instance, in Ecclesiast. Hist. of N. E. I. 329, Mr. Felt observes on my suppos. that Welde compos. and arrang. the greater part of the work so publish. and that Gov. W. was auth. of the rest, entit. a Brief Apology, &c. and adds, "But it is clear from Baylies and Cotton, that Winth, did write "The Book" as stated by Weld "to the Reader." Now each of the three parts of this affirmat. is wrong. Weld hims. does not state "that Winthrop did write the Book," wh. is too bold and direct assert. for the crafty writer of that addr. wh. does nothing more than suggest that somebody beside T. W. was the writer or editor. Baylies, p. 57, in strong desire to censure Cotton for his familism and antinom. relies upon "the witness of Master Winthrop the wisest of all the N. E. Governors hitherto, and of Master Wells, a gracious minister of that land in their printed Relations of the Schisms there;" and he preceeds to cite passages equally from the Preface or conclusion, as well as from the Proceedings or the Apology, a dozen or twenty from each, but a diligent, not a superficial scrutiny through his quotations will give a great preponderance to those acknowledg. to be Weld's On p. 64 also, Mr. Felt refers to Winthrop's Narration, but in the very last line preced. refers to this work as the testimony also of Weld. In defence of hims. 

Cotton follows Baylie very closely, quoting the exact phrases of his antagon. and so. p. 56, refers to "the witness of Winthrop and Wells," not even correct. the spell. of his name. On p. 57 citing from B. the "testimony from the Court, wh. (it is likely) was deliv. by Mr. Winthrop being then Gov. [as in] p. 35 of the Short Story," &c. so that the weight of his evidence is, to the least scruple or even grain, of the same weight, and no more, with Baylie's, to prove in Mr. Felt's words "that Winth, did write the Book." Prob. Mr. Felt had not, when he compos. that passage, examin. those authors, or, at least, his survey was cursory, for in Ib. 534, speaking of the publicat. of this pamphlet in 1644, he uses similar words: "Its preface was by Mr. Weld, and the rest of it by Gov. W." overlook. the acknowledgm. of Weld, that the conclusion, wh. even slight observ. must make seven pages, was by him. Writing of the end of Weld's life, Mr. Felt uses more precision, p. 436. "He was engag. with Gov. W. sen. in prepar. the Rise, Reign, and Ruin," &c. in N. E. Yet what Gov. W. contrib. was in Mar. 1636-7, the Apology and perhaps part of the Proceedings in Nov. 1637, publ. in Boston as much as in London, but NOT PRINT. in either, while Weld was the publisher, by [[vol. 4, p. 463]] his own confess. overrul. the London press in 1644, so that my expression, as he fairly gives it on his p. 329, may stand unreprov. Beside, Mr. Felt candidly, p. 554, takes notice, that Wheelwright, s. of Rev. John "endeavors to show from the concessions of Weld, that his f. did not adopt the main principles of his sis.-in-law, Mrs. H." and he still more fairly quotes a let. of 1647, from Hooker of Hartford to Shepard of Cambridge, both of wh. must have kn. what the truth, and the hole truth was a. the publicat. "I cannot be persuad. but these men" [the Scotch Presbyterians, Rutherford and Baylie] HAD A SECRET HAND TO PROVOKE MR. WELD TO SET FORTH HIS SHORT STORY," &c

Certain. Weld's desire was not be thot. author of the "Short Story," &c. and he would gladly have the reader presume that Gov. Winthrop whose name belongs to part of the official documenta. matter therein print. had issued the vol. tho. any careful student could detect the most of the pages due to ano. hand. The assist. librar. at Harv. Univ. drew my attention to the vol. of Rutherford, professor at St. Andrews, call. Survey of Spiritual Antichrist. London 1648, p. 171, where he says of our N. E. heretics, "They held these wicked tenets especially, that follow, as may be gathered out of the story of the Rise, Reign, and Ruin of the Antinomians and Libertines that infected the Chhs. of N. E. penned (as I am informed) by M. Winthrope, Gov. a faithful witness, and approv. by M. T. Weld in his preface to the book." 

This is in c. XV, yet in the next c. p. 180, he twice names Weld as author of that work, as in the first sentence of the same c. p. 176, of Mrs. Hutchinson, one of the authors of the "wicked opinions," he borrows the happy designat. of our Roxbury historian, saying "This woman is call. the American Jezabel." How R. was informed that Gov. W. penned the work, may easily be conceiv. for in his sev. journeys from St. Andrews to London, and back, his road lay straight thro. Gateshead, opposite Newcastle, wh. was Weld's resid. So high was his estimat. of the vol. that in the sec. pt. of R.'s work, it is cit. hardly less than three hundred times, always by the tit. of Rise, Reign, and Ruin. It must be kept. constant. in mind, that Rutherford and Bailie were of the four great Scotch magicians employ. as mem. of the famous Westminister Assembly, that sat above five and a half yrs. to regulate the true faith for all future time. Great opportunities for acquir. knowl. as to every thing. espec. of a relig. value, that had occur. in N. E. were, of course, enjoy. by them.

Being sharp, reprov. in the Geneal. Reg. VIII. 84, for what is my sec. ed. of Winthrop's Hist. of N. E. was utter. about the attempt of Weld to conceal his first connex. with this work, I may be permit. in explanat. if not justificat. to add not a little. By the change of words, [[vol. 4, p. 464]] "the authorship" of Short Story is made the matter of controversy, and that man of straw is put forward, wh. may be left to the critic; for my chief inq. was confin. to the publicat. or editorship; having only in a single instance named Weld as author of Rise, Reign, and Ruin, and then in note on Vol. I. 258, in the closest relation to a passage from the preface, signed by hims. and the very last words of the conclusion on p. 66. 

So that the differ. betw. the critic and myself is very slight, as to material passages by me ascrib. to Weld, "BEYOND WHAT HE HAS HIMS. ACKNOWLEDGE." In the futher opin. of the same writer "that whatever Mr. Weld did, he did under the direction or by the adv. of the dominant party here," all may readi. aggree. A little outbreat of bitterness in the Preface, or in the 'additions to the conclusion of the Book," may seem very natural in that age; and in the larger report of the case of Mrs. H. in Hutch. Hist. II. 482-520, wh. should be read by every one that desires to know the full extent of the tyranny, we easily discern, how eager in the prosecut. were Dudley, the Dept.-Gov. wh. was of Weld's ch. at Roxbury, Endicott, Bartholomew, and Nowell, of the laity, as, of the clerg. Symmes, fellow-passeng. with her, Shepard and Hugh Peter, the fellow-passeng. of W. on the homeward voyage. No one could be misled by my words, as if I asserted that Weld, more than Peters or anybody else, wrote the petition in favor of Wheelwright, or the Apology, or the Proceedings of the Court in the larger part, or the popular report of poor Mrs. Dyer's affliction. He is responsible, as Editor, for all but the strictly official docum. Now without intend. any invidious allegat. as to a single word in the vol. "beyond what he has hims. acknowl." I renew my remark, that he bears the responsib. for all exc. from p. 46 to the third line of p. 59 inclus. bec. it was print. under his direct. and most of it is evident. his own composit.

The friend, wh. the critic says pointed out my error, was, yrs. ago, satisfied that I had good grounds for my opinion. The diligent asisst. librar. of Harv. Coll. in his MS. on the reverse of the title-page of "Antinomians and Familists condemned," had noted, that it was the same work with Weld's Short Story, and infer. that it was an earlier impression, because Short Story gain. the Note to the Reader and the Preface; and he then adds (without hestitat.) from that address, that it appears, Thomas Welde "was not the author of what is contained in the present vol." His caution was not excit. by the admiss. of Weld hims. as to the "additions to the conclusion of the book," and he believe. what the rev. casuist cunning desir. rather than what he said. My suggestion that this title-page was a sneaking device to give support to the false implicat. in the Note to the Reader, is by the Geneal. Reg. critic submerg. in the conject. that it "might have been, and no doubt was, a [[vol. 4, p. 465]] printer's error" !! Large inq. has been provok. by this bold assumption and unusual state of things. The first result is from collation by Mr. Livermore of the copy in College Libr. of "Antinomians and Familists," with the Athemaeum copy of the "Short Story," and he assures me that it is apparent that from p. 1 to 66, where the Athenaeum copy breaks off, the correspondence is perfect in every letter, typographical error or not, as l. 6 on p. 46 spread has the let. r pushed out of its place, so that the lower is as high as the upper part of the letters on either side: -as p. 1 of Short Story, begins with signat. B. in the copy that has sixteen or eighteen pages of prefatory matter, so begins with signat. B. the copy devoid of those pages; and so on p. 9 in each of these books is signature C -- on 17 D -- on 25 E, &c. with the trifling except. on p. 62, 1. 8, the parag. ends in one with the words "slighted had so much," in the other, "had so much slighted," no letter being changed. An expert in printing, or even an apprentice, would judge of Antinomians and Familists, &c. from sig. B on p. 1, that sig. A had once preced. it, tho. page 1 follows next aft. title-page. 

Mr. Marvin, an accomplish, printer, on first sight observ. that the Preface had been suppressed, and that the title-page was print. from the same form as Short Story, substituting other words, for all above the imprint. Indeed, to suppose it possib. that the work, without the preface, was issued first, is very like the expectat. of seeing the second story of an edifice sustain itself in the air before the first is built for its support. The forms are identical, the ornaments unchanged, as on the title-pages of both a border of twenty-one types or beads runs by the sides, nineteen more at the top, and eighteen at the bot.; and no letters were distrib. from the form to the case betw. the strikings off for one and the other through the whole. Yet so widely differ the title-pages, that one would judge instantly, that years might interven. betw. them, one showing only forty-one words, the other, one hundred and fifty-six, above the imprint; while that imprint of three lines disproves the whole cunning of the change, for there exactly as in the body of the two books, all the letters, and figures, and imperfections, and punctuation, and errors, were immovable. The words above the imprint in one are removed from the other, and new ones inserted, except the very large letters of the single word NEW-ENGLAND running wholly across the wide page, some of wh. the keen eye of my young friend, W. H. Whitmore, detected as unmoved; and a less practised vision would instantly perceive, when directed to it, how the first E in that word differs from the sec. E and confidently assume that the enormity of the first E might prove it to be the only one of the kind in the print. office of Ralph Smith. The last letter but one of that word in a copy wh. to me seems clearly, by a hundred indicat. to have been [[vol. 4, p. 466]] among the earliest taken off from the standing form, is a well looking, perfect captital, but in two other copies appears to have its face battered, as if it had been in irregular company, and in the only other copy ever seen by me, the body appears to have a twist, wh. may account for the bruise on its face.

Which now, of these two, both print. early in 1644, was prior? Very short time, only few hours prob. elaps. betw. them; and further scrutiny of the note to the Reader may be useful to aid the decision of that question. The opening words are "meeting with this Book, newly come forth of the Press;" and it is very strange, that no other man than Thomas Weld is kn. to have ever seen such a supposed book, bef. or since. Industry was most active, in that day of civil war, to hunt up every thing as soon as print. The eager friend of King Charles I. in London, whose assiduous attent. to such serv. furnishes one of the most curious and complete assortment of treasures in the British Museum, contain. near. thirty thousand pieces and tracts, bound in over two thousand vols. in the order of success, dates betw. 1640 and 1660,must be inq. of whether this be one book or two. Now in that vast collect. this tract stands with only the tit. Short Story, &c. obtain. by the book collector 19 Feb. 1643, and no such work as "Antinomians and Familists condemn." &c. is nam. Next, in reference to the point of priority, should be weigh. what is told in that note to the Reader, as to the names of some that acted in our troubles, wh. the writer says "are already in print. without any act of mine." 

But we are left uncertain, whether that print without his act means (as seems fairly to follow) in the Book newly come forth. Unless it may be shown, that such print. of the names can be found elsewhere than in Short Story, bef. the issue of Antinomians and Familists condemn. it may well be thought this addr. to the reader is only a subterfuge. Such evidence it may be hard to find; yet no other man than Weld can be nam. wh. would in London be so deeply engag. in such cause. But what motive had Weld to make such a statement? To this question, a reasonable reply is, that he might fear prosecution for libels by one or another. Friends of the parties implicat. must have been numerous eno. in London; for tho. Gov. Cradock, Sir Richard Saltonstall, Sir Bryan Jansen, treas. Harwood, Alderm. Andrews, Col. Ven and others, may have been impartial, Sir H. Vane would, of course, sympathize with Cotton, Wheelwright, and the majority of his fellow-worship. in Boston ch. Mr. Hutchinson also had a br. there, wh. had liv. here, was of high esteem and large property, and beside others of the Antinom. party, Coggeshall was a man of influence in Boston, and Aspinwall a ready writer, both able to command friends in the great city; while Wheelwright, s. of one of the [[vol. 4, p. 467]] princip. suffer. was able to issue the very next yr. in "Mr. Weld's his Antitype" observat. on "a paper styled a Short Story of the Rise, Reign," &c.

November 2000

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