1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wade, Sir William

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WADE (or Waad), SIR WILLIAM (1546–1623), English statesman and diplomatist, was the eldest son of Armagil Wade (d. 1568), the traveller, who sailed with a party of adventurers for North America in 1536, and later became (1547) one of the clerks of the privy council in London and a member of parliament. William Wade obtained his entrance into official life by serving William Cecil, Lord Burghley, sending information to this statesman from Paris and from Italy. He also passed some time in Strassburg; then in 1581 he became secretary to Sir Francis Walsingham and in 1583 a clerk of the privy council. He visited Vienna, Copenhagen and Madrid on public business, and in 1585 he went to Paris, being waylaid and maltreated on his return near Amiens by influential personages who disliked the object of his mission. In 1586 he went to Chartley and took possession of Mary Stuart's papers, and in 1587 was again in France. During the remainder of Elizabeth's reign Wade was much occupied in searching for Jesuits and in discovering plots against the life of the queen. James I., who knighted him in 1603, employed him in similar ways, and he was fully occupied in unravelling the plots which marked the early years of the new reign. For some time Wade was a member of parliament. He retired from public life in 1613, and died on the 21st of October 1623. Sir William was a shareholder in the Virginia company, and the Wades of Virginia claim descent from his father.