Sandys, Edwin (1561-1629) (DNB00)
|←Sandys, Edwin (1516?-1588)||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 50
Sandys, Edwin (1561-1629)
SANDYS, Sir EDWIN (1561–1629), statesman, second son of Archbishop Edwin Sandys (1516?–1588) [q. v.], by his second wife, Cicely, sister of Sir Thomas Wilford, was born in Worcestershire on 9 Dec. 1561. George Sandys [q. v.] was his youngest brother. In 1571 Edwin was entered at Merchant Taylors' School, and thence was elected scholar of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, matriculating in September 1577. He graduated B.A. on 16 Oct. 1579, M.A. on 5 July 1583, and B.C.L. on 23 April 1589. He was elected fellow of Corpus early in 1580, and on 17 March 1581–2 was presented by his father to the prebend of Wetwang in York Cathedral. In 1589 he was admitted a student of the Middle Temple.
Sandys had been sent by his father to Corpus to be under the care of his friend, Richard Hooker [q. v.], then tutor in that college. With him went George Cranmer [q. v.], who had entered Merchant Taylors' in the same year. The two youths formed with Hooker a lasting friendship, and gave him valuable help and advice in the preparation of his ‘Ecclesiastical Polity.’ It was Hooker's custom to send each book as he completed it to them, and they returned it with suggestions and criticisms. Sandys's notes to the sixth book are extant in Corpus Christi MS. No. 297, and have been printed in Church and Paget's edition of Hooker's ‘Works,’ iii. 130–9. His representations to his father are said to have been the means of Hooker's appointment to the mastership of the Temple, and he was subsequently one of Hooker's executors.
On 13 Oct. 1586 Sandys entered parliament as member for Andover. From the first he took an active part in its proceedings, and repeatedly served on committees (cf. D'Ewes, Journals, pp. 393, 396, 412, 414, 415). In the parliament of 1588–9 he sat for Plympton, Devonshire, for which he was re-elected in 1592–3. On 10 March 1592–3 he proposed to subject ‘Brownists’ and ‘Barrowists’ to the penalties inflicted on recusants (ib. pp. 471, 474, 478, 481, 500, 502; ‘Mr. Sands’ appears to be Edwin; his brother Miles and his kinsman Michael, both members of these parliaments, are distinguished in the ‘Journals’ by their christian names).
Soon after the dissolution of parliament in 1593 Sandys accompanied his friend Cranmer on a three years' tour on the continent, visiting France, Italy, and Germany. He remained abroad after Cranmer's return, and was at Paris in April 1599; he dated thence his ‘Europæ Speculum,’ and dedicated it to Whitgift. In the preparation of this work Sandys was largely aided by his intercourse with Fra Paolo Sarpi, who subsequently translated it into Italian (Grotius, Epistolæ, 1687, pp. 865, 866). The tone of the book is remarkably tolerant for the time. Sandys finds good points even in Roman catholics. For a long time it remained in manuscript, but on 21 June 1605 it was entered at Stationers' Hall, and published under the title ‘A Relation of the State of Religion.’ It was printed, without the author's consent, from a stolen copy of the manuscript, and Sandys is said to have procured an order of the high commission condemning it to be burnt. This was carried out on 7 Nov. (Chamberlain to Carleton, Cal. State Papers, Dom. 7 Nov. 1605). A copy of the condemned edition in the British Museum contains corrections and additions in the author's handwriting. From this copy an edition was printed after Sandys's death at The Hague in 1629, 4to, under the title ‘Europæ Speculum, or a View or Survey of the State of Religion in the Westerne Parts of the World.’ The alterations do not appear to be material. Subsequent editions appeared in 1632 (with Lewis Owen's ‘Jesuit's Pilgrimage’ appended), 1637, 1638, 1673, and 1687. Sarpi's Italian translation, made from the 1605 edition, appeared with some additions in 1625, and in 1626 Diodati translated it, with Sarpi's additions, into French. A Dutch translation which Grotius had suggested appeared in 1675 (Epistolæ, pp. 865, 866).
Sandys returned to England in 1599, and in 1602 he resigned his prebend at Wetwang. Next year he made his way to James VI in Scotland, and accompanied him to England. He was knighted at the Charterhouse on 11 May 1603, and was returned on 12 March 1603–4 to James I's first parliament as member for Stockbridge, Hampshire. He at once assumed a leading position in the House of Commons. In May he was head of the commons' committee appointed to confer with the lords with a view to abolishing the court of wards, feudal tenures, and purveyance. Sandys drew up the committee's report, but the scheme came to nothing through the opposition of the lords (Spedding, Bacon, iii. 180, 210; Gardiner, i. 170–6). In the same session Sandys opposed the change of the royal title from king of England and Scotland to king of Great Britain. He was also chief of a committee to investigate grievances against the great trading companies, and to consider a bill for throwing trade open, a course which he consistently advocated. On 8 Feb. 1605–6 he introduced a bill for the ‘better establishing of true religion,’ which was rejected by the commons after mutilation in the House of Lords (Spedding, iii. 264; Commons' Journals, i. 311). In February 1607 he advocated the concession of limited privileges to the ‘postnati,’ and argued against the claim of the crown that the personal union of the two kingdoms involved the admission of Scots to the rights and privileges of Englishmen (Gardiner, i. 334; Spedding, iii. 328, 333–4). In the following June he urged that all prisoners should be allowed the benefit of counsel, a proposition which Hobart declared to be ‘an attempt to shake the corner stone of the law.’ In the same session Sandys carried a motion for the regular keeping of the ‘Journals’ of the House of Commons, which had not been done before. In April 1610 he was placed on a committee to consider the ‘great contract’ for commuting the king's feudal rights for an annual grant; a full report of his speech delivered on this subject on 10 April has been printed (from Harl. MS. 777) in the appendix to ‘Parliamentary Debates in 1610’ (Camden Soc.).
In 1613 Bacon reported to the king that Sandys had deserted the opposition (Spedding, iv. 365, 370). Probably to confirm this disposition, Sandys was on 12 March 1613–14 granted a moiety of the manor of Northbourne, Kent; but when parliament met on 5 April following, Sandys, who seems to have been returned both for Rochester and Hindon, Wiltshire, maintained his old attitude. In the first days of the session he opposed Winwood's demand for supply, and suggested that the grievances which had been presented to the last parliament should be referred to the committee on petitions. He was the moving spirit on a committee appointed to consider impositions, and in bringing up its report on 21 May delivered a remarkable speech, in which he maintained that the origin of every monarchy lay in election; that the people gave its consent to the king's authority upon the express understanding that there were certain reciprocal conditions which neither king nor people might violate with impunity; and that a king who pretended to rule by any other title, such as that of conquest, might be dethroned whenever there was force sufficient to overthrow him (Commons' Journals, i. 493). The enunciation of this principle, the germ of which Sandys derived from Hooker, and which subsequently became the cardinal whig dogma, was naturally obnoxious to the king, and his anger was increased by Sandys's animadversions on the bishop of Lincoln's speech [see Neile, Richard]. On the dissolution of parliament (7 June) Sandys was summoned before the council to answer for his speeches. According to Chamberlain, he was dismissed ‘without taint or touch,’ but he was ordered not to leave London without permission, and to give bonds for his appearance whenever called upon.
No parliament was summoned for more than six years, and meanwhile Sandys turned his attention to colonial affairs. He was a member of the East India Company before August 1614, when he requested the admission of Theodore Goulston or Gulston [q. v.], who ‘had saved his life.’ On 31 March 1618 he was sworn a free brother of the company, and from 2 July 1619 to 2 July 1623, and again from 1625 to 1629, he served on the committee. He took an active part in its proceedings (cf. Cal. State Papers, East Indies and Japan, 1614–30). On 29 June 1615 he was admitted a member of the Somers Islands Company, and the Sandys tribe in that group was named after him. But his energies were mainly devoted to the Virginia Company. He had been appointed a member of the council for Virginia on 9 March 1607. In 1617 he was chosen to assist Sir Thomas Smythe [q. v.], the treasurer, in the management of the company. In this capacity he warmly supported the request of the Leyden exiles [see Robinson, John, (1576?–1625)] to be allowed to settle in the company's domains. On 12 Nov. 1617 he addressed a letter to Robinson and Brewster, expressing satisfaction with the ‘seven articles’ in which the ‘exiles’ stated their political views (Neill, Virginia Company, pp. 125–6). It was largely owing to his influence that a patent was granted them.
Meanwhile Smythe's administration, coupled with Argall's arbitrary measures, threatened to ruin the infant colony, and created a feeling of discontent in the governing body of the company. On 28 April 1619 a combination of parties resulted in the almost unanimous election of Sandys to the treasurership; but the ascendency of Sandys and his party dates from the beginning of the year (Doyle, English in America, iii. 210), and his tenure of the treasurership made 1619 ‘a date to be remembered in the history of English colonisation’ (Gardiner, iii. 161). His first measure was to institute a rigorous examination of accounts which convicted Smythe of incompetence, if not worse (cf. Sandys to Buckingham in Cal. State Papers, America and West Indies, 7 June 1620). Yeardley was sent to replace Argall as governor, and in May Sandys procured the appointment of a committee to codify the regulations of the company, to settle a form of government for the colony, to appoint magistrates and officers, and define their functions and duties (Abstract of Proceedings of the Virginia Company, Hist. Soc. of Virginia, i. 2–15; Neill, Hist. Virginia Company, passim; Stith, Hist. Virginia, 1747, pp. 156–76). Acting on the company's instructions, Yeardley summoned an assembly of burgesses, which met in the church at Jamestown on 30 July 1619. It was the first representative assembly summoned in America; the English House of Commons was taken as its model, and an account of its deliberations is preserved among the colonial state papers in the Record Office. On 6 June Sandys obtained the company's sanction for the establishment of a missionary college at Henrico. Ten thousand acres were allotted for its maintenance (Holmes, American Annals, i. 157); but the project was subsequently abandoned. Sandys also carried out the transhipment of a number of men and women for the colony, secured the exclusion from England of foreign tobacco in the interests of the Virginia trade, and introduced various other manufactures into the colony. These measures resulted in a marked increase in the population and prosperity of Virginia, and when Sandys's term of office as treasurer expired, on 27 May 1620, the company was anxious to re-elect him. At the quarterly meeting of the company on that date a message arrived from the king demanding the election of one of four candidates whom he named. The company, alarmed at this infringement of their charter, asked Sandys to retain the office temporarily, and sent a deputation to James to remonstrate (cf. Peckard, Memoirs of the Life of Nicholas Ferrar, 1790, pp. 93–100). The king received it with the declaration that the company was a seminary for a seditious parliament, that Sandys was his greatest enemy, and concluded with the remark, ‘Choose the devil if you will, but not Sir Edwin Sandys’ (A Short Collection of the most remarkable passages from the Originall to the Dissolution of the Virginia Company, London, 1651, pp. 7, 8). Sandys accordingly withdrew his candidature, and on 28 June his friend Henry Wriothesley, third earl of Southampton [q. v.], whom Sandys is said to have converted from popery (Peckard, p. 102), was elected treasurer, and Nicholas Ferrar [q. v.] his deputy. Both were staunch adherents of the Sandys party, and Sandys himself was given authority to sign receipts and transact other business for the company. During the frequent absences of Southampton he took the leading part in the proceedings of the company, and in February 1620–1621 he prepared, with Selden's assistance, a new patent whereby the title of the chief official was to be changed from treasurer to governor. On 28 June following he laid before the company ‘Propositions considerable for the better managing of the business of the company and advancing of the plantation of Virginia’ (Proceedings, i. 79–86).
These reforms, however, were soon forgotten in the struggle for existence which the company had to wage against its internal and external enemies. Smythe and Argall had naturally resented their exposure, and they now made common cause with Warwick [see Rich, Robert, (1587–1658)] against the dominant party in the company and their policy. Sandys's position as leader of the popular party in parliament alienated the support of the court. He was suspected of harbouring designs to establish a republican and puritan state in America, of which he and his friends would have com- plete control. At the same time the Spanish government viewed the growth of Virginia with apprehension, Gondomar was perpetually intriguing against it, and James's anxiety to conclude the Spanish match inclined him to give ear to the Spanish ambassador's complaints. Warwick, who had a personal grievance against Sandys (see Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. App. ii. 5), seems to have lent himself to these intrigues, and Sandys vigorously attacked him and his party before the company. The Warwick party replied with a comprehensive indictment of Sandys's administration. They charged him with malversation of the company's funds, transmission of false news, and suppression of the truth concerning the miserable state to which his measures were said to have reduced the colonists (ib.) On 16 June 1621 Sandys was imprisoned in the Tower with Selden, whom he had consulted with a view to frustrating the intrigues against the company. The House of Commons concluded that Sandys's imprisonment was due to his speeches in parliament; the government maintained, and the contention was partially true, that it was due to other matters, and Ferrar explicitly states that the Virginian business was the cause (Peckard, Life of Ferrar, p. 110). The explanation was not believed, and on 16 July James found it politic to release Sandys and the other prisoners. Two years later (13 May 1623) Warwick complained of Sandys's conduct of Virginian affairs, and the privy council ordered him to be confined to his house. Soon afterwards commissioners were appointed by the king to inquire into the state of the colony. Sandys's party was generally supported by the settlers, but in July the attorney and solicitor general recommended the king to take the government of the colony into his own hands. The company now sought the aid of parliament; its petition was favourably received, and a committee was appointed to consider it. In May 1624 Sandys accused Gondomar in parliament of seeking to destroy the company and its plantation, and charged the commissioners with extreme partiality, stating that on the day when he was to have been examined on his conduct as treasurer, he was ordered by the king to go into the country. A few days later James forbade parliament to meddle in the matter, on the ground that the privy council was dealing with it. The case of the company's charter came before the king's bench in July, and on the 24th the court declared it null and void. The government of the colony was assumed by the crown, but the representative and other institutions established by Sandys remained to become a model for other American colonies.
Sandys meanwhile had resumed his parliamentary career. On 9 Jan. 1620–1 he was returned for the borough of Sandwich. Early in the session it was voted to petition the king on the breach of the privilege of free speech committed by the summons of Sandys before the privy council to answer for his speeches in June 1614, but the matter went no further (Hallam, Const. Hist. i. 363–4; Hatsell, Precedents, i. 133). In the discussion over Floyd's case [see Floyd, Edward]. Sandys alone urged moderation. On 29 May he drew attention to the spread of catholicism, stating that ‘our religion is rooted out of Bohemia and Germany; it will soon be rooted out of France’ (Gardiner, iv. 127). In the following September the king proposed to get rid of him by sending him as commissioner to Ireland, a proposal which was renewed on the eve of the new parliament of February 1623–4, when he was elected for Kent. Sandys, wrote Chamberlain, obtained his election ‘by crying down his rivals, Sir Nicholas Tufton and Sir Dudley Diggs, as papist and royalist, but he will fail, being already commissioner for Ireland, and therefore incapable of election, and his Majesty will be but the more incensed against him’ (Cal. State Papers, 17 Jan. 1623–4). Nevertheless, he took his seat, having made his peace, according to the same authority, ‘by a promise of all manner of conformity’ (ib. p. 156). On 12 April he made a speech attacking Middlesex, and in May he and Coke brought the commons' charges against the lord treasurer before the House of Lords.
Sandys had throughout held relations with Buckingham, and, according to Chamberlain, some thought him a ‘favourite.’ Perhaps for this reason he was defeated for Kent in May 1625, but found a seat at Penryn. During the session he drew up with Pym a petition against the recusants; and, later on, he maintained that Richard Montagu [q. v.] was not guilty of contempt of the house in publishing his second book before the commons had concluded their examination of the first. He was again defeated for Kent in January 1625–6, but sat for Penryn; in March 1627–1628 Buckingham's recommendation failed to secure his return for Sandwich. In that parliament he had no seat. His last years were devoted to the affairs of the East India Company. He died in October 1629, and was buried in Northbourne church, where a monument, with no inscription, was erected over his grave. He be- queathed 1,500l. to the university of Oxford to found a metaphysical lecture, but the bequest was not carried out. A fine but anonymous portrait of Sandys, preserved at Hanley, was engraved by G. Powle for Nash's Worcestershire.
Sandys was four times married: (1) to Margaret, daughter of John Eveleigh of Devonshire, by whom he had one daughter, Elizabeth, who married Sir Thomas Wilsford of Hedding, Kent; (2) to Anne, daughter of Thomas Southcott, by whom he had no issue; (3) to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Nevinson of Eastrey, by whom he had a daughter Anne; (4) to Catherine (d. 1640), daughter of Sir Richard Bulkeley of Anglesey, knt. By her Sandys had seven sons and five daughters. The eldest son Henry died without issue before 1640; Edwin, the second son (1613?–1642), matriculated from Wadham College, Oxford, on 11 May 1621, aged 9, became a colonel in the parliamentary army, and was wounded at the engagement at Worcester on 23 Sept. 1642. The royalists published prematurely a statement that on his deathbed he repented of his adoption of the parliamentary cause; to this Sandys published replies dated 4 and 11 Oct. He died before the end of the month, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral (see The Declaration of Colonel Edwin Sandys; Some Notes of a Conference between Colonell Sandys and a Minister of Prince Rupert's, and two Vindications by Sandys, all dated October 1642, 4to; Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Gardinder, Reg. Wadham Coll.; Clarendon, Rebellion, vi. 45, 63). He married Catherine, daughter of Richard Champneys of Hall Place, Bexley, Kent, and was grandfather of Sir Richard Sandys, who was created a baronet in 1684, but died without issue in 1726. Richard, third son of Sir Edwin, was also a colonel in the parliamentary army (see Copy of Col. Sandys' Letter of the manner of taking Shelford House; and Letter from Adjutant-general Sandys, both 1645, 4to). In 1647 he was governor of the Bermuda Company. Subsequently he purchased Down Hall, Kent, and was ancestor of a numerous family in that county (Berry, County Genealogies, Kent, p. 41). Of Sandys's daughters, Mary married Richard, second son of Robert, first baron Spencer of Wormleighton.[A good but brief summary of Sandys's career is given in Brown's Genesis of the United States; other accounts are in Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 472; Chambers's Biogr. Ill. of Worcestershire, pp. 94–6; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict.; and Appleton's Cycl. of American Biogr. For his parliamentary career see Journals of the House of Commons; Parl. Debates in 1610 (Camden Soc.); D'Ewes's Journals of the House of Commons (printed and in Harl. MSS.); Hatsell's Precedents, i. 133; Gardiner's Hist. of England; Hallam's Const. Hist. i. 363–4, 372; Official Return of M.P.'s and Cal. State Papers, Dom., where notes of many of his speeches are preserved. For Sandys's connection with Virginia the primary authorities are: Abstract of the Proceedings of the Virginia Company of London, 1888, 2 vols. (Virginia Hist. Soc.); Extracts from the Manuscript Records of the Virginia Company, ed. E. D. Neill, 1868; Cal. State Papers, America and West Indies; and the Duke of Manchester's MSS. (see Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. pt. ii.), which take a very hostile view of Sandys's conduct; a very detailed account of his policy is given in Stith's History of the first Discovery and Settlement of Virginia, 1747; see also the Virginia Magazine of Hist. and Biogr. i. 159, 289 et seq.; Neill's Hist. of the Virginia Company; Bancroft's Hist. of America; Doyle's English in America, vol. iii. passim; Palfrey's Hist. of New England; Winsor's Hist. of America, vol. iii. passim; and Proc. Royal Hist. Soc. new ser. vol. x. See also Stowe MS. 743, f. 64; Spedding's Letters and Life of Bacon; Nichols's Progr. of James I; Court and Times of James I, pp. 259, 267; Strafford Papers, i. 21; Fortescue Papers (Camden Soc.), passim; Cal. Hatfield MSS. iv. 291, 295; Peckard's Memoirs of Nicholas Ferrar, 1790, passim; Hooker's Works, ed. Keble, and Church and Paget, and his Life by Gauden and Walton; Fowler's Hist. Corpus Christi Coll. (Oxf. Hist. Soc.); Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl.; Foster's Yorkshire Pedigrees and Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Clark's Reg. Univ. Oxon.; Robinson's Reg. Merchant Taylors' School; Hasted's Kent, i. 146; Nash's Worcestershire; Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire; Visitations of London (Harl. Soc.) 1633–5; Berry's Kent Genealogies; Burke's Extinct Baronetage; Archæol. Cantiana, xiii. 379, xviii. 370; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. vii. 359, 8th ser. xii. 224; various editions of Sandys's Europæ Speculum in Brit. Mus. Libr.]