Randolph, Edward

Randolph, Edward,

c.1632–1703, English colonial agent in America. In 1676 he carried royal instructions to Massachusetts Bay that required the colony to send representatives to England to satisfy complaints of the heirs of John MasonMason, John,
1586–1635, founder of New Hampshire, b. England. After serving (1615–21) as governor of Newfoundland, he and Sir Ferdinando Gorges received (1622) a patent from the Council for New England for all the territory lying between the Merrimack and Kennebec
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 (1586–1635) and Sir Ferdinando GorgesGorges, Sir Ferdinando
, c.1566–1647, English colonizer, proprietor of Maine. He was knighted (1591) for his services to Henry IV of France in the French Wars of Religion and was subsequently (1596–1601, 1603–29) military governor of Plymouth, England.
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; he also had orders to make a complete report on the colony. Rebuffed by the Massachusetts authorities, he made a personal investigation and upon his return to England wrote a denunciatory report based on facts but colored by his dislike for the Puritans. His attack on the legality of the Massachusetts Bay charter helped bring about the withdrawal (1679) of New Hampshire from the colony's administration as well as the order that the colony repeal all laws unfavorable to England and enforce the Navigation Acts. In 1679, Randolph settled in Boston as collector of customs for New England. His relations with the colonials were extremely bitter. After the annulment (1684) of the Massachusetts charter, an act to which he had devoted much energy, he became secretary and register for the Dominion of New England and also acted as a councilor under Joseph Dudley and Sir Edmund AndrosAndros, Sir Edmund
, 1637–1714, British colonial governor in America, b. Guernsey. As governor of New York (1674–81) he was bitterly criticized for his high-handed methods, and he was embroiled in disputes over boundaries and duties (see New Jersey), going so far as
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. With the collapse (1689) of the Andros regime, Randolph was imprisoned for a time. In 1691 he became surveyor general of customs for North America. His letters and papers have been edited with a biographical commentary by R. N. Toppan and A. T. S. Goodrick (7 vol., 1898–1909, repr. 1967).


See biography by M. G. Hall (1960, repr. 1969).

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