Vaughan, William (1577-1641) (DNB00)
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Vaughan, William (1577-1641)
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VAUGHAN, WILLIAM (1577–1641), poet and colonial pioneer, born in 1577, was the second son of Walter Vaughan of Golden Grove, Carmarthenshire [see under Vaughan, Richard, second Earl of Carbery]. Sir Henry Vaughan (1587?–1659?) [q. v.] was his brother. William matriculated, along with his brother John, from Jesus College, Oxford, on 4 Feb. 1591-2, and graduated B.A. on 1 March 1594-5, and M.A. on 16 Nov. 1597. He supplicated for B.C.L. on 3 Dec. 1600, but before taking the degree he went abroad, travelled in France and Italy, and visited Vienna, where he proceeded LL.D., being incorporated at Oxford on 23 June 1605. He was sheriff of Carmarthenshire for 1616.
Soon after his return he married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of David ap Robert of Llangyndeyrn, where he thereupon settled at a house now called Torcoed, or, as he fancifully spelt it, Terra-Coed. By her he had one son, Francis, who appears to have died young. In January 1608 the house was struck by lightning and his wife killed, though Vaughan himself 'miraculously escaped.' As a result, spiritual thoughts so absorbed his mind that apparently he suffered for a time from religious mania, while most of his subsequent work bears evidence of strong religious feeling. 'Disgracefull libelles' were, however, 'dispersed farre and nigh' about his wife's death. To refute these Vaughan wrote a strangely mystical work, which he entitled 'The Spirit of Detraction coniured and contacted in Seven Circles: a Work both Divine and Morall, fit to be perused by the Libertines of this Age, who endeavour by their detracting and derogatory Speeches to embezell the Glory of God and the Credit of their Neighbours' (London, 1611, 4to). What appear to have been 'remainders' of this work were reissued in 1630, but with the substituted title of 'The Arraignment of Slander, Periury, Blasphemy, and other Malicious Sinnes.'
Vaughan's attention was, however, soon directed to other matters of great public interest. In 1610 James I had granted to 'a company of adventurers,' consisting of the Earl of Northampton, Sir Francis Bacon, and forty-six other associates, considerable territory in Newfoundland for purposes of colonisation. In 1616 Vaughan purchased from the grantees a part of their land, and in the following year 'I transported thither,' he says, ' certayne colonies of men and women at my owne charge; after which, finding the burthen too heavy for my weake shoulders, I assigned the Northerly proportion of my grant unto . . . Viscount Falkland,' and a further portion somewhat later, probably in 1620, to Sir George Calvert (afterwards Lord Baltimore). In 1618 Vaughan sent out a second batch of settlers under the command of R. Whitbourne, whom he appointed governor for life of the undertaking (cf. Whitbourne, A Discourse and Discovery of Newfoundland, 1620; Oldmixon, Brit. Empire in America, 1741, i. 8).
In compliment to Wales, Vaughan had given his settlement the name of Cambriol, while its place-names included Vaughan's Cove, Golden Grove, and the names of all the counties of South Wales except Radnor (see Mason's Map), all of which have since disappeared. The settlement was situated on the south coast at the head of Trepassey Bay, and had been 'expressly planned on such a scale as to make agricultural pursuits and the fishing mutually depend on each other' (Bonnycastle).
Ill-health had prevented Vaughan from accompanying the earliest settlers, but he appears to have gone out himself after the return of Whitbourne in 1622. He had, however, returned to England by 1625, bringing with him two works ready for publication. One was a Latin poem, written under the pseudonym of 'Orpheus Junior,' in celebration of the marriage of Charles I, under the title of 'Cambrensium Caroleia ' (London, 1625, 8vo). This extremely rare book the only known copy being that at the British Museum also contains a map of Newfoundland by Captain John Mason (1586-1635) [q. v.]
To the other work, which was published in 1626, Vaughan gave the title of 'The Golden Fleece . . . transported from Cambrioll Colchios, By Orpheus Junior' (London, 4to). This has been described as 'a compound of truth and fiction, of quaint prose and quainter verse' (Rich, Cat. of Books relating principally to America, p. 45), and is written after a fantastic plan, also used by Boccalini, according to which a succession of historical characters present, in the court of Apollo, bills of complaint against the evils of the age, and finally the Golden Fleece, which is to restore all worldly happiness, is discovered in Newfoundland, of which country much detailed information is therefore given. This work ranks among the earliest contributions to English literature from America (see Encycl. Brit. 9th edit. i. 720, s.v. 'American Literature'). These works were chiefly intended to advertise the colony, or, as the author states elsewhere, 'to stirre up our Ilanders Mindes to assist and support the Newfound Ile.' His efforts were warmly appreciated by his fellow-adventurers, and Robert Hayman in his 'Quodlibets . . . from Newfoundland' (London, 1628) addressed two of his epigrams to Vaughan. Hayman himself is in turn addressed in verse by 'poore Cambriol's lord,' who, according to Wood (loc. cit.), must have been living out there at the time.
He was, however, again in England in 1630, settling his private affairs, which he would have 'chiefly to rely upon untill the Plantation be better strengthened.' His hopes for the future of the colony were doomed to disappointment, chiefly owing to its severe winters. He died at Torcoed in August 1641, and was buried in Llangyndeyrn churchyard, 'without vain pomp,' as enjoined in his will (which was dated 14 Aug., and was proved on 29 Aug. 1641).
Vaughan married, for his second wife, Anne, only child of John Christmas of Colchester. She died on 15 Aug. 1672, at the age of eighty-four, and was buried in St. Peter's Church, Carmarthenshire, close to the altar, where her monument and kneeling effigy are still to be seen (Spurrell, Carmarthen, pp. 187, 202). By her he had five daughters and one son, Edward, who was admitted a student of Gray's Inn on 19 March 1632-3, and was probably the person of that name knighted at Oxford on 24 Nov. 1643 (Metcalfe, Knights). He took a leading part in negotiating with General Laugharne the cessation of hostilities in Carmarthenshire on the submission of that county to parliament in October 1645 (Phillips, Civil War in Wales, ii. 274-278). He married Jemima, daughter of Nicholas Bacon of Shrubland Hall, near Ipswich. Fourth in direct descent from them was John Vaughan, the last male representative of the family, who in 1804 bequeathed the whole of the Vaughan estates, with the house at Golden Grove, to John Campbell, first baron Cawdor [see under Vaughan, Richard, second Earl of Carbery, ad fin.]
'Though indifferently learned' in law, in which faculty he had taken his degree, yet Vaughan 'went beyond most men of his time for Latin especially and English poetry' (Wood). He was also greatly attracted 'ever since his childhood' to the study of medicine, and wrote on the subject, whence, coupled with his degree of 'doctor,' he has often been erroneously described as a physician (Appleton, Cyclop. of Amer. Biogr. vi. 268; Drake, Dict. of Amer. Biogr. p. 940).
Besides the works already mentioned, Vaughan was the author of the following: 1. 'Eρωτοπαίγνιον pium: Continens Canticum Canticorum Salomonis, et Psalmos aliquot selectiores,' part i., London, 1597, 16mo; part ii. 1598, 8vo. 2. 'Poematum Libellus;' containing (i) an ode to Robert, earl of Essex (to whom the book is also dedicated); (ii) 'De Sphaerarum Ordine;' and (iii) 'Palaemonis Amoris Philosophici,' London, 1598, 8vo. 3. 'Speculum humanae condicionis, in Memoriam patris sui . . . Gualteri Vaughanni,' London, 1598, 8vo. 4. 'The Golden Grove moralised, in three Bookes: a Work very necessary for all such as would know how to gouerne themselves, their houses, or their countrey,' London, 1600; 2nd edit, (enlarged), 1608, 8vo. This work, which is perhaps the most interesting of Vaughan's performances, throws much light on the manners and diversions of the age, which as a rule he criticises with severity. 5. 'Naturall and Artificiall Directions for Health derived from the best Philosophers, as well Moderne as Ancient,' London, 1600, 12mo; reprinted in black letter, 1602, 8vo; 3rd edit, (revised and enlarged), 1607, 16mo; 4th edit. 1613; 5th edit, (with dedication to Sir Francis Bacon), 1617; 6th edit, (dedicated to William, earl of Pembroke, and containing two other treatises by other writers on diseases of the eyes), 1626, 4to; 7th edit. 1633, 4to. 6. 'The Newfound Politicke,' &c., London, 1626, 4to. This was a translation from the Italian of Trajano Boccalini's 'Ragguagli di Parnaso.' The book is in three parts, Vaughan, who was responsible for its publication, having himself translated the third part only, to which he also appended a translation of 'The Duke of Hernia, his Speech in the Councill of Spaine.' The whole is intended as an earnest though indirect warning by a protestant against concluding any alliance with Spain, and is dedicated to the king, whom the author prophetically reminds of the verse, 'Tunc tua res agitur paries cum proximus ardet.' 7. 'The Newlanders Cure,' London, 1630, 8vo. This is a medical work, treating of the complaints most prevalent in Newfoundland, with an autobiographical dedication to the author's brother, which was reprinted almost unabridged in the 'North American Review' for March 1817 (iv. 289-95). 8. 'The Church Militant, historically continued from the Yeare of our Saviours Incarnation 33 untill this Present 1640,' London, 1640, 8vo. 9. 'The Soules Exercise in the Daily Contemplation of our Saviours Birth, Life, Passion, and Resurrection,' London, 1641, 8vo. The two last mentioned are bulky books, written in verse, the latter being dedicated to both the king and queen.
There was another colonial pioneer named William Vaughan (d. 1719), who also came much in contact, at a later date, with another Captain Mason. He was of Welsh extraction, but bred in London under Sir Josiah Child, who had a great regard for him. He emigrated to New England, and his name first appears in the records of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, under date of 8 March 1666-7. On the establishment of provincial government in that colony, Vaughan was nominated on 18 Sept. 1679 to be one of the councillors of the province, which office he appears to have held till 1716. From 1683 he bore the brunt of a most persistent attempt made by a Captain Mason to obtain possession of a large tract of land in Portsmouth. He died in 1719 ('Memoir' in New Hampshire Hist. Soc. Collections, viii. 318 et seq., with Vaughan's autograph at p. 325; Belknap, Hist. of New Hampshire, ch. vi-xi., Captain Mason, ut infra, pp. 122, 126, 354).[There is much autobiographical matter contained in Vaughan's Works, especially in the Golden Fleece and the preface to the Newlanders Cure. As to his settlement, see Whitbourne's Discourse (cited in text), Purchas his Pilgrimes (iv. 1888), Bonnycastle's Newfoundland in 1842 (i. 73-4), and Memoirs of Captain John Mason, published by the Prince Society, Boston, 1887, pp. 138-42, 163-5. See also art. on John Mason, (1586-1635). See also Wood's Athenae Oxon. ii. 444; Williams's Eminent Welshmen, p. 514; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. vol. xxx. As to his genealogy, see the authorities cited for the article on Vaughan, Richard, second Earl of Carbery.]