Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Andros, Edmund

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ANDROS, Sir Edmund, colonial governor, b. in London, England, 6 Dec., 1637; d. there, 24 Feb., 1714. His father was an officer in the royal household, and young Andros was brought up at court. He early became a soldier, and served in the regiment of foot sent to America in 1666. In 1672 he was made major in Rupert's dragoons, and two years later succeeded his father as bailiff of Guernsey. From 1674 to 1681 he was governor of the province of New York, appointed by James, duke of York, and in this capacity he became involved in numerous disputes with the adjoining colonies on account of his extensive claims to jurisdiction. In 1680 he deposed Philip Carteret and seized the government of New Jersey, and in the following year he was recalled and accused of maladministration. He was successful in clearing himself of all charges, and then retired to Guernsey. In 1686, on the accession of James II., he was appointed governor of the dominion of New England, which included all the English North American settlements between Maryland and Canada, except Pennsylvania, He arrived in Boston on 21 Dec., 1686, and at once put into execution a number of measures that were extremely obnoxious to the colonists. Although proclaiming religious freedom, he restrained the liberty of the press, arbitrarily levied enormous taxes, and compelled land-owners to procure new titles to their property, for which exorbitant charges were made. These and similar actions, performed in accordance with instructions received in England, gave great offence. In October, 1687, at the head of an armed force, he demanded the surrender of the charter of Connecticut, but its sudden removal and concealment in the “charter oak” prevented the accomplishment of this purpose. The occurrence of this incident has since been disputed, and historical data have been accumulated to show its impossibility. (See Brodhead's “History of New York,” vol. ii., p. 472.) By his aggressions on the territory of the Penobscot Indians he brought on the Indian war of 1688. The people of Boston, unable to endure the severity of his administration, revolted, and on 18 April, 1689, he was deposed and imprisoned with fifty of his followers. In the following year he was sent to England, and charges were preferred against him by a committee of colonists; but the home authorities deemed it unadvisable to bring the matter to a judicial decision, and he was never tried. In 1692 he again returned to America as governor of Virginia, and remained until 1698, gaining the esteem of the people by his efforts to promote manufactures and agriculture. He was associated in the founding of William and Mary college, which, next to Harvard, is the oldest seat of learning in the United States. His quarrels with the church authorities, and the influence of Dr. Blair, commissary of the bishop of London, led to his recall. From 1704 to 1706 he was governor of the island of Jersey, and subsequently he lived in London. See Whitmore's “ Andros Tracts,” with notes and a memoir of Sir Edmund Andros (Boston, 1868); “A Narrative of the Proceedings of Sir Edmund Andros” (Boston, 1691 and 1773); “Collections of the Boston Historical Society” (3d series, vii., 150); Brodhead's “Government of Sir Edmund Andros in New England” (Morrisania, 1867), and his “History of New York”; index to “O'Callaghan's New York Colonial Documents”; Palfrey's “History of New England” (iii., 127); and Bancroft's “History of the United States” (vol. i., New York, 1882).