Sir Edmund Andros 
Colonial Massachusetts Governor 
1686-1689

"Sir Edmund Andros (1637-1714), colonial Governor, was born in London, England, December 6, 1637, son of Amias and Elizabeth (Stone) Andros. He distinguished himself in the war with the Dutch, and in 1672 was commissioned major in Prince Rupert’s regiment of dragoons. In 1674 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the province of New York, and in 1677, while on a visit to England, was knighted in token of appreciation of his services.

His extremely arbitrary measures, his repeated attempts to extend his jurisdiction, and his rigid enforcement of the revenue laws aroused the indignation of the American colonists, and in 1681, upon their complaint, he was recalled.

In 1686, he was again sent to America as Governor of the New England Colonies, and in 1688 he was appointed governor and captain-general of the United Dominion, into which James II proposed to consolidate the colonies of New York, New Jersey, and New England.

He was authorized to remove magistrates, to appoint the members of his own council and with their advice to levy taxes and control the provincial troops. He demanded the surrender of the charters of the colonies, compelled landholders to purchase new titles at exorbitant rates, abolished the General Court, restricted the liberty of the press, and attempted to enforce obnoxious ecclesiastical laws.

Upon the refusal of Connecticut to relinquish her charter, Andros marched to Hartford at the head of sixty soldiers to obtain the document by force. Tradition says that the charter was hidden in an oak, afterward known as the Charter Oak; but Broadhead in his History of New York (vol. II, p. 472) brings forward historical data to prove the incorrectness of the tradition.

The secretary of the Connecticut assembly, by order of Andros, closed the record on October 31, 1687, with the statement that the viceroy had that day assumed the Governorship of Connecticut.

Early in 1688 his arbitrary seizure of some land in Maine, belonging to the Penobscot Indians, brought on the memorable Indian war of that year. Then came the revolution in England, and when the tidings reached Boston the colonists seized and imprisoned Andros, who was sent to England in 1689, where he was immediately liberated without trial.

In 1691, he published a Narrative on Proceedings in New England, and this work, republished in London at the time of the American Revolution, was used to show the turbulent and seditious spirit of the colonists.

In 1692, Sir Edmund was made Governor of Virginia. The leading men of this colony were conspicuous for their loyalty to the crown, and Sir Edmund was more at home among them than he had been among the Puritans of the north. He succeeded in winning the favor of the people and help to establish the William and Mary College, Williamsburg, and ruled wisely and well until 1698, when he became involved in a controversy with James Blair, the ecclesiastical head of the colony, and was recalled.

From 1704 to 1706 he was Governor of the island of Guernsey, and the remaining years of his life were spent in retirement in London. See W. H. Whitmore’s Andros Tracts, with notes and a memoir of Sir Edmund Andros (Boston. 1691 and 1773); Bancroft’s History of the United States (vol. I); and Palfrey’s History of New England (vol. III). He died in London, February 24, 1714.

 

— Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, 1900 (edited)

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