Watt (Also Vadianus), Joachim Von
Watt (also Vadianus), Joachim von the Reformer of St. Gall, was born December 30, 1484, of ancient family in that city. His father was a merchant, his mother a judicious and pious woman. His early education was conducted by his mother and pedagogues of his native town, but he soon went to Vienna in order to avail himself of the superior privileges there afforded. He there became acquainted with Ulric Zwingli and Heinrich Loriti (Glareanus). A period of dissolute behavior ensued in his life, but it was speedily followed bv a continuous season of earnest classical study. A Virgil which he was wont to use as a pillow in those days is still preserved in the town library of St. Gall. He also tried his powers in Latin verse, and, in obedience to the customs of his day, changed his name into the Latin Vadius, afterwards Vadianus. After a tour through Poland, Hungary, and Carinthia, and an essay at teaching in Villach, he returned, by way of Venice, to Vienna, and resumed his studies. He ,joined the learned society known as the Danube Association, and included jurisprudence, theology, and medicine in his course, obtaining the doctorate in the last-named department. After the death of Cuspinian, Watt filled the chair of the Greek language and literature. In 1514 he was made poetlaureate by the emperor Maximilian. Four years afterwards he returned to St. Gall for a visit, but was given the post of town-physician, by which he was held to that city as long as he lived. In 1519 he married Martha Greoel.
The Church of St. Gall was wholly controlled by the spirit of Middle-Age Catholicism; but Watt, who had become acquainted with the. writings of Luther and the ideas of the Reformation while at Vienna, gave himself to the work of improving its spiritual condition. He was assisted in his endeavors by the newly installed minister of St. Laurent, Benedict Burgauer, and his helper, Wolfgang Wetter. He maintained an active correspondence with Zwingli. He presided in' the Colloquy of Zurich in 1523, and of Berne in 1526. He became the chief promoter of the Reformation initiated in St. Gall after the Zurich Colloquy, and incurred much hatred in consequence. The Anabaptist movement in St. Gall and Appenzell also gave him trouble; but the continued support accorded him by his fellow-citizens sustained him even when his brother-in-law, Conrad Grebel, of Zurich, was drowned in punishment of his heresies. He was chosen burgomaster of St. Gall repeatedly, and in that capacity gave himself to the work of instructing the populace and increasing their comforts. He also participated in the theological controversies of his time, particularly the Sacramentarian and Schwenkfeldian disputes, and in connection with them wrote several books. He died April 6, 1551, and was mourned by Calvin and others as being lost to the great work of the Reformation in whose promotion he took so influential a part.
The life of Watt was first described by Kessler, the friend whom he had brought under the influence of Luther and Melancthon, and thereby gained for the Reformation. Kessler's MS. is preserved in the Library of St. Gall. Other biographers are, Huber, Ehrengedachtniss des . . . Joachim v. Watt (St. Gall, 1683); Fels, Denkmalschweiz. Reformatoren (ibid. 18i9); Pressel, Joachim Vadian, etc. (Elberfeld, 1861), part 9. — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.