Nathaniel Ward

(c. 1578—1652) clergyman and compiler of a law code for Massachusetts

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English-born Congregational clergyman, emigrated to Massachusetts (1634), where he served as minister (1634–36) at Aggawam (now Ipswich). Upon retiring from the ministry, he formulated the colony's first code of laws, “The Body of Liberties” (1641), which is considered fundamental in American constitutional history. His best-known work, The Simple Cobler of Aggawam (1647), is a crotchety and amusing satirical blast against religious toleration and other matters of annoyance to him. Ward also wrote commendatory verse prefixed to the poems of Anne Bradstreet, and published some poetry in his own book. He returned to England as a clergyman (1647) and several later political and ecclesiastical tracts have been attributed to him.

Subjects: Literature.

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