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Sandys, Sir Edwin

SANDYS, SIR EDWIN (1561-1629), British statesman and one of the founders^tof the colony of Virginia, was the second son of Edwin Sandys, archbishop of York, and his wife Cecily Wilford. He was born in Worcestershire on the 9th of December 1561. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' school, which he entered in 1371, and at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he was sent in 1577. He became B.A. in 1579 and B.C.L. in 1589. In 1582 his father gave him the prebend of Witwang in York Minster, but he never took orders. He was entered in the Middle Temple in 1 589. At Oxford his tutor had been Hooker, author of the Ecclesiastical Polity, whose life-long friend and executor he was. Sandys is said to have had a large share in securing the Mastership of the Temple for Hooker. From 1593 till 1599 he travelled abroad. When in Venice he became closely connected with Fra Paolo Sarpi, who helped him in the composition of the treatise on the religious state of Europe, known as the Europae speculum. In 1605 this treatise was printed from a stolen copy under the title, A Relation of the Stale of Religion in Europe. Sandys procured the suppression of this edition, but the book was reprinted at the Hague in 1629. In 1599 he resigned his prebend, and entered active political life. He had already been member for Andover in 1 586 and for Plympton in 1589. After 1599, in view of the approaching death of Queen Elizabeth, he paid his court to King James VI., and on James's accession to the throne of England in 1603 Sandys was knighted. He sat in the king's first parliament as member for Stockbridge, and distinguished himself as one of the assailants of the great monopolies. He endeavoured to secure to all prisoners the right of employing counsel, a proposal which was resisted by some lawyers as subversive of the administration of the law. He had been connected with the East India Company before 1614, and took an active part in its affairs till 1629. His most memorable services were, however, rendered to the (London) Virginia Company, to which he became treasurer in 1619. He promoted and supported the policy which enabled the colony to survive the disasters of its early days, and he continued to be a leading influence in the Company till his death. Sir Edwin Sandys sat in the later parliaments of James I. as member for Sandwich in 1621, and for Kent in 1624. His tendencies were towards opposition, and he was suspected of hostility to the court; but he disarmed the anger of the king by professions of obedience. He was member for Penrhyn in the first parliament of Charles I. in 1625. He died in October 1629. See Alex. Brown's Genesis of the United States (London. 1890).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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