SANDYS, Sir Edwin (1561-1629), of Northbourne Court, Northbourne, Kent and St. Martin-le-Grand, Aldersgate, London; formerly of Dalby, Yorks. and the Middle Temple, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

b. 9 Dec. 1561, 2nd s. of Edwin Sandys (d.1588), abp. of York and Cecilia, da. of Thomas Wilsford of Cranbrook, Kent; bro. of Sir Miles* and Sir Samuel*. educ. Merchant Taylors’ sch. 1571; Corpus Christi, Oxf. c.1573-5 (admitted disciplus 1577), BA 1579, MA 1583;1 Geneva acad. 1597; travelled abroad 1596-9 (Germany, Italy, Geneva, France). m. (1) Margaret (d. 6 July 1588), da. of John Evelegh† of Holcombe, Devon, 1da.; (2) c.1590/1, Anne (d. by 1593), da. of Thomas Southcote* of Bovey Tracey, Devon, s.p.; (3) c.1601, Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Nevinson of Eastry, Kent, 1da. d.v.p.; (4) 1604,2 Katherine (d.1634), da. of Sir Richard Bulkeley* of Henblas, Beaumaris and Baron Hill, Llanfaes, Anglesey, 7s. incl. Henry* (2 d.v.p.), 5da. kntd. 11 May 1603. d. betw. 16 and 31 Oct. 1629. sig. Edwin Sandys/Sandes.

Offices Held

Prebend, Wetwang, Yorks. 1582-1602;3 chan., dioc. of York 1586.4

Kpr. (jt.), York House, Westminster 1593-at least 1596;5 commr. subsidy, Kent 1606, 1624;6 sheriff, Kent 1615-16;7 commr. inquiry, lands of recusants, Kent c.1623;8 freeman, Maidstone, Kent 1625;9 j.p. Kent 1625-d.;10 commr. sewers, Kent 1625,11 martial law 1626,12 billeting of troops 1626,13 Forced Loan 1626-7.14

Member, 2nd earl of Lincoln’s embassy to Hesse 1596.15

Member, Anne of Denmark’s Council 1603-19;16 commr. survey [I] 1623-4, trade 1625.17

Cttee. Virg. Co. 1607-24, asst. 1616, 1618, auditor (jt.) 1618, 1620-3, treas. 1619-20;18 member, E.I. Co. by 1613, freeman 1618, cttee. (‘at large’ ) 1619-27, (full) 1627-d.;19 member, Somers Is. Co. 1615, dep. gov. 1618, asst. 1623.20


One of the most brilliant parliamentary figures of his generation, Sandys burst suddenly and unexpectedly onto the parliamentary stage in 1604 at the relatively advanced age of 42, establishing a dominance so complete that Prestwich has dubbed him ‘the uncrowned king of the Commons in James’s reign’. This was, perhaps, an exaggeration, but even Gardiner admitted that, apart from Bacon, ‘no man enjoyed the confidence of the House more than Sir Edwin Sandys’.21 His greatest strengths were his razor-sharp intellect and an ability to articulate clearly and powerfully the concerns of his colleagues. Although Notestein sourly remarked that he ‘was not gifted with words’,22 Robert Bowyer*, Sir William Strode* and lord chancellor Ellesmere (Thomas Egerton†) all praised Sandys’s eloquence, while Tobie Matthew* remarked upon his ‘flowing speech’.23 Even Nathaniel Boteler, an enemy in colonial matters, considered him ‘a great speaker’.24 Perhaps only Sir Robert Phelips, Sandys’s colleague in five parliaments, was more widely admired for his oratory. Yet Sandys’s parliamentary career ultimately ended almost as swiftly as it had begun: after July 1625 he was a pariah in the Commons, and by 1628 his reputation had sunk so low that he proved incapable even of finding a seat.

I. Early Life and Career

Sandys has been described as ‘a solid and impeccable country gentleman’, but though he certainly acquired an estate in Kent, his background was such that he was hardly the epitome of a landed squire.25 The second son of the former Marian exile Edwin Sandys, archbishop of York, he was born in 1561 and educated at Corpus Christi, Oxford, where he was taught by his father’s client, Richard Hooker, who later became a close friend. A capable student, in 1579 he obtained both his bachelor’s degree and a fellowship, followed in 1585 by an MA. His father praised his ‘discretion, sobriety and learning’,26 and in 1586 appointed him chancellor of York diocese, encouraging him to pursue a legal career. However, in April 1589, nine months after his father’s death, he was refused permission to proceed to the degree of bachelor of law. He enrolled instead at the Middle Temple, where his uncle Miles Sandys† was treasurer. Although a legal career now beckoned, Sandys, who read Latin and Greek and possibly some Hebrew,27 retained a passionate interest in theology and church government. Early in 1593, at the height of the dispute with the Presbyterian wing of the church, his former tutor, Hooker, published the first four books of his monumental work, The Laws of the Ecclesiastical Polity, which criticized presbyterianism. Sandys played a great part in the preparation of the text and paid out of his own pocket for it to be published.

The publication of Hooker’s work was carefully timed to coincide with the opening of the 1593 Parliament. Sandys, who wished to participate in the parliamentary onslaught against radical Protestantism, was technically incapable of sitting in the Commons because he was prebend of Wetwang, an office bestowed upon him by his father in 1582 to provide him with an independent income.28 Nevertheless, he was returned for Plympton Erle, the Devon borough controlled by his first wife’s family, the Eveleghs of Holcombe, which he had represented in 1589. On 13 Mar. 1593 one Mr. Sandys - perhaps Sandys’s uncle Miles, who sat for Andover, but more likely Sandys himself - urged that the recusancy bill be expanded to include Brownists and Barrowists. Certainly Edwin must have been the Mr. Sandys who supported the bill against Protestant radicals in April.29 His disapproval of radicalism was shared by his father’s former friend, John Whitgift, the archbishop of Canterbury. Whitgift admired Sandys’s scholarship, and in 1595 asked the new archbishop of York, Matthew Hutton, to renew Sandys’s leases, held of York Cathedral, so that he might ‘be encouraged by all means in his good and studious endeavours’.30 It was possibly at Whitgift’s suggestion that Sandys participated in a disputation in the Tower with the captured Jesuit, Henry Walpole in 1594. According to the Jesuit who reported this encounter, Sandys, ‘trusting to his wit and fine discourse’ spoke for an hour and a quarter, during which time he sought to prove that the Catholic faith ‘first might decay by Scripture, then that it had decayed, as well by councils which he alleged, as by other authorities’.31 Although he failed to convert Walpole, the disputation allowed Sandys to sharpen the debating skills he had honed at Oxford and the Middle Temple, which would later be employed with devastating effect in Parliament.

Sandys never practised at the bar, and in May 1596 he quit his chambers. Shortly thereafter he was appointed to accompany the 2nd earl of Lincoln on a minor diplomatic mission to the Landgrave of Hesse.32 He may have owed his place to the earl’s eldest son, Thomas Clinton*, whom he had apparently befriended at Oxford, but it is equally likely that he was appointed at the behest of his Court patrons, who now included not only Whitgift but the Cecils. Lord treasurer Burghley (William Cecil†) had been Whitgift’s ally in the fight against radical protestants, while his son Robert Cecil† was secretary of state. Although the embassy returned in October, Sandys, who had obtained a three-year licence to travel the Continent before leaving England, remained behind.33 After journeying to Italy, where he visited Venice and Rome, he spent the winter of 1597-8 at Geneva,34 and continued into France. Along the way he gathered useful information for Whitgift on the state of religion abroad and sent reports on foreign affairs to Robert Cecil.35

While in Paris in April 1599, Sandys completed a lengthy and detailed record of his observations. Entitled A Relation of the state of Religion, it offered an overview of Christian practice in the western world, something that had never before been attempted. Indeed, Sandys’s measured approach to Catholicism became ‘the most complete and informed survey available to English readers’. Although Sandys found many features of Catholic belief distasteful, such as extreme veneration of the Virgin and the emphasis laid on ceremonies, others, like confession, Lenten observance and praying three times a day, could be ‘recommended to the imitation of all worthy Christians’. In some respects, Sandys even regarded Catholic practice as preferable. ‘I cannot but highly commend’, he wrote, that Catholics ‘spare nothing that either cost can perform in enriching, or skill in adorning, the temples of God’. He was unable to understand the Protestant ‘scant and strict rule of mere necessity’.36 This view would eventually find a sympathetic audience among Laudians, but at the time few English Protestants shared Sandys’s outlook. Mainstream Calvinists would also have found offensive Sandys’s criticism of their obsession with predestination, a doctrine he regarded as entirely ‘speculative’.37 Sandys’s willingness to concede that Catholicism contained some admirable features, and his criticism of some aspects of Protestant belief, gave rise to perhaps the most remarkable aspect of his book, its ecumenism. Indeed, he appealed for friendly relations between princes on either side of the confessional divide in the hope that they would eventually learn to co-exist. The Relation has been described as the first book written since the Reformation to argue for a limited toleration,38 but for the time being Sandys kept it unpublished, perhaps believing that its appearance in print might jeopardize his prospects.

Sandys returned to England in 1599, where he maintained contact with Robert Cecil; indeed, he was regarded as one of Cecil’s confidants as late as May 1601.39 During the final years of Elizabeth’s reign he settled in eastern Kent, the county which was home to his mother’s family, the Wilsfords, and to the relatives of his third wife (whom he had recently married), the Nevinsons. East Kent was also the abode of his former tutor, Richard Hooker (d.1600), who was now minister of the church at Bishopsbourne, near Canterbury, and it was also where Sandys’s close friend George Cranmer had lived until his death on military service. In February 1601 Sandys purchased from the queen Cranmer’s old manor of Bishop’s Enbrooke, near Folkestone, for £4,181. Thirteen months later he also acquired from the Crown the lease of the Abbot’s house in Northbourne, a mansion situated a few miles from Deal.40 Despite these purchases, Sandys did not entirely abandon his Yorkshire interests, for although he surrendered the prebendary of Wetwang in May 1602 he continued to reap the benefit of its leases, possibly through some private arrangement with his kinsman and successor, James Evelegh.41

As well as his Kent properties, Sandys also acquired the lease of a house from London’s corporation in about 1601.42 Situated just inside the city wall at Aldersgate, next to the house belonging to the 9th earl of Northumberland, it remained in his possession until his death and was his home whenever he sat in Parliament.43 During the early 1620s it also doubled up as an occasional venue for meetings of the directors of the Virginia Company.44

II. The 1604 Session

There is no contemporary evidence that Sandys travelled to Scotland to greet James I on his accession,45 but by the time James came to the throne in March 1603 he may have been eager for advancement. He was now aged 41, and unless he acquired office soon he was never likely to do so. By the end of the year, however, all that he had managed to obtain was a knighthood and a minor position on Anne of Denmark’s Council. It was against this backdrop that he arrived at Westminster in March 1604, when he took his seat as Member for Stockbridge, a Hampshire constituency in the gift of his cousin, William, Lord Sandys.

One of the most striking features of the new House of Commons was that it included only two, relatively minor privy councillors - the second secretary of state Sir John Herbert and the treasurer of the Chamber, Sir John Stanhope I. Robert Cecil, who had managed the House for the queen in 1601, now sat in the Lords. Since neither Herbert nor Stanhope was particularly able, it often fell to one of the king’s leading lawyers, Francis Bacon, to speak for them. Yet while Bacon’s talents were formidable, they could not compensate for the absence of a powerful team of ministers. To bolster the Crown’s voice in the Commons, Cecil seems to have relied upon experienced Members of the House with whom he was well connected to act as his occasional spokesmen. Sir Robert Wroth I apparently performed this function during the wardship debates of 1604, and there is some evidence to suggest that Cecil’s cousin, Sir Edward Hoby, secretly acted with Cecil’s encouragement when he openly opposed making peace with Spain in May. Sandys, who perhaps had not yet abandoned all hope of achieving office at the hands of the king’s chief minister, may also have continued to see himself as a Cecil client, as will become apparent.

During the opening month of the Parliament Sandys made no recorded speeches, although a steady stream of committee nominations suggests that he was often present.46 On 19 Apr., however, he declared his vigorous opposition to the king’s proposal to bring about the existence of Great Britain. Previous speakers had tended to skirt around the principal difficulties involved, but Sandys, who described the Union as ‘the weightiest cause’ that had ever come before the House, went straight to the heart of the matter. First, he pointed out that the Commons had no authority to make a law for the whole of Britain because ‘England sits here representatively only’. He also objected that if England ceased to exist so too would the Common Law, upon which all their rights and privileges depended. Indeed, ‘if we take away the name [of England], we take away the maxims of the law’. The liberties won by earlier generations might not be passed on to the newly styled Britons: ‘As our predecessors have left us free, so we to leave our successors with prejudice’.47 He returned to these perceived dangers the following day, causing Secretary Herbert to reassure the House that ‘in taking the name of Britain, [we] will not take away England’. The simplicity and persuasiveness of Sandys’s arguments clearly came as a shock to James, who responded through Bacon on 21 Apr. in a speech that has been described as ‘almost a point-by-point refutation of Sir Edwin’. In a clear reference to Sandys, James urged the Commons to put an end to ‘the curious carping of some’ and claimed that ‘he meant not to take away the name of England’.48

Sandys was not to be silenced so easily. After brushing aside Sir William Maurice’s suggestion on 23 Apr. that James, as the ruler of three kingdoms, was entitled to style himself emperor - he remarked that the name of king was ‘sweet’ enough, as it was one ‘which God taketh upon him[self]’49 - he returned to the questions surrounding the name Great Britain.50 On 26 Apr. he reminded James, who was new to England and more accustomed to dealing with the pliant representative assemblies of Scotland, that responsibility for making law lay with the king in Parliament rather than the monarch alone. He then turned to consider a list of 13 objections to the Union that Bacon had earlier reported to the House. This list was fine as far as it went, particularly the last point, which stated that a new name would ‘erect a new kingdom ... as of an island discovered’.51 However, Bacon had failed to mention several important points, among them the lack of precedents. No governor of the Low Countries had ever managed to impose the name Belgia on his territory, he remarked, while Denmark, Norway and Sweden, though once ruled by the same king, had never united themselves under one name. Although Spain was composed of several kingdoms, its name was merely a term of convenience since there had been ‘no union in name or laws’. Like most Englishmen of his time, Sandys considered that a federal union was a contradiction in terms. Consequently he maintained that ‘a kingdom is indivisible, and may not contain several kingdoms’.52 Another point overlooked by Bacon, and one that Sandys had himself made the previous week, was that the jurisdictions of the English and Scottish Parliaments were limited to their respective countries, so that neither could separately legislate for Britain. Joint action by both was equally impossible because they were ‘not one Parliament’.

These were devastating criticisms, but Sandys had not yet finished. How, he asked, could the English Parliament, having recently acknowledged James as rightful king of England, pass another Act whose effect would be to abolish both itself and the kingdom to which James had succeeded? What, too, would become of the king’s coronation oath? While the subject could always be required to renew his oath of loyalty, the king would never retake his oath unless there were a new coronation. The dissolution of England would also undermine her foreign policy, as some of her neighbours would inevitably exploit the name change to wriggle out of their treaty obligations. Most worrying of all, perhaps, was the fate of the English Common Law. ‘The king cannot preserve the fundamental laws by uniting’, he declared, any more than a goldsmith instructed to fuse two crowns into one could do so and yet preserve the originals. Were the two kingdoms to merge, ‘we shall alter all laws, customs, privileges’. Even if the Commons passed the legislation sought by James, what guarantees were there that the Act would not be interpreted to the disadvantage of the subject, particularly as the final arbiter would be the king himself? In an ideal world, in which ‘princes had as much wisdom and goodness as God’, they would ‘need no tie’, but in practice adequate safeguards were needed.

The effect of this outstanding speech was to demolish the case for the king. The Commons was so impressed that Sandys was appointed to speak after Bacon at the forthcoming conference with the Lords.53 James, however, was evidently stung by Sandys’s offensive remark about the wisdom of princes, and urged the Commons on 1 May not to let itself be ‘transported with the curiosity of a few giddy heads’.54 Despite this coded royal rebuke, Sandys’s insistence that the dissolution of England would extinguish the Common Law merely echoed a widely held opinion. On 28 Apr. his position was vindicated by the judges, who concluded ‘that the first hour wherein the Parliament gives the king the name of Great Brittany there followeth necessarily ... an utter extinction of all the laws now in force’.55

Sandys’s opposition to the Union was undoubtedly genuine, but he may also have been receiving quiet encouragement from Robert Cecil. On 26 Apr., the day on which Sandys delivered his keynote speech, the French ambassador reported that those most opposed to the Union in the Commons were secretly receiving comfort and assistance from members of the Council.56 Cecil was unable to disavow the Union publicly, but after the judges’ pronouncement he revealingly told the Scottish secretary of state that their ruling was ‘a very good stop to the work so much desired of His Majesty’.57 A continuing connection between Cecil and Sandys, which affected the latter’s conduct in the Commons, can also be detected in relation to Sandys’s attitude towards the issue of wardship. On 23 Mar. 1604 Cecil’s client, Sir Robert Wroth I, had signalled to the Commons that the king might be willing to abolish wardship in return for an annual cash payment. Sandys was named to the committee appointed to consider this proposal, and on 26 Mar. he formed part of the 24-strong deputation sent to the Lords to seek a conference. Following this meeting, however, the question of wardship receded as the Union and the Buckinghamshire election dispute dominated proceedings. It was not until 8 May, when the Lords suggested that the Commons should offer to pay the king an annual sum in lieu of purveyance, that interest in wardship was reawakened, as it was clear that a similar solution might be adopted in both cases. During a debate on purveyance three days later, Sandys tried to link the two issues in a speech ‘touching the buying of justice’ and ‘matters of wardship’. As this approach was undoubtedly Cecil’s preferred solution, it seems likely that Sandys was representing the views of the king’s chief minister. Although the Commons eventually decided to ‘go single’, Sandys continued to remain in the forefront of the debate. Indeed, on 19 May he suggested asking the Lords to join them in petitioning the king for permission to discuss compounding for wardship. The House not only agreed to make the necessary overture, but appointed Sandys to carry the message. Thereafter Sandys seems to have taken charge of steering this business through the Commons. A member of the committee appointed on 22 May to help ‘prepare, furnish and arm’ the House with reasons for pursuing composition; three days later he reported the draft petition to the House. This document, formally approved by the House on 26 May, was almost certainly composed by Sandys for, as Rabb notes, it was written in his style and alludes to foreign contempt for England, an observation unlikely to have been made by anyone else.58

Until this point, Sandys had almost certainly been following a policy laid down by Cecil. However, Cecil evidently had misgivings about the strategy he had been pursuing. Immediately after Sandys finished speaking on the 26th, Wroth, Cecil’s spokesman on wardship two months earlier, announced that it was ‘impossible that any good could come of this course in the matter of wardship’. Over the previous couple of days Cecil, the master of the Wards, had come under considerable pressure from the officers of his department regarding the inadequate compensation they would receive were wardship to be abolished. Cecil’s sudden change of tack meant there was now a difference between his policy and the one advocated by Sandys. Consequently, as Rabb has suggested, sometime between 11 and 26 May the plan to compound for wardship ceased to be Cecil’s and became Sandys’s instead.59 Whether Sandys had decided to part company with Cecil, or whether Cecil had simply failed to keep him fully briefed, is unclear. At any rate, after Cecil’s sudden volte face Sandys had little choice but to report the conference with the Lords on 1 June, at which all the Commons’ proposals were rejected. He did not pursue the scheme any further.60

Although there is circumstantial evidence to link Sandys with Cecil in 1604, it seems clear that Sandys was never merely Cecil’s creature. In one major area of debate at least, that of free trade, it soon became clear that he had his own agenda. On 24 Apr., five days after his opening attack on the Union, Sandys was appointed to a committee to consider two bills on free trade. From the outset he seems to have been regarded as its chairman, as he was its first named member. The committee took less than a month to examine witnesses, deliberate and draw up its report, which was drafted by Sandys. On 21 May Sandys presented the committee’s findings to the House in a speech described by the clerk as ‘excellently delivered’.61 The main issue was the London trading companies’ continued stranglehold over much of England’s overseas trade, which ‘cannot be otherwise counted than a monopoly’. These companies, although they boasted a combined membership numbering five or six thousand, were in reality controlled by a small body of rich merchants, so that ‘the mass of the whole trade of all the realm is in the hands of some two hundred persons at the most’. Were their monopoly to be broken, he went on, the clothing industry would be able to maintain ‘many thousands merchants more’ than it did at present.62 Sandys’s well-reasoned and carefully crafted arguments impressed most of his colleagues, many of whom represented constituencies only too anxious to limit the activities of the London companies, but predictably they aroused fear and hostility among London’s own representatives, who fought a desperate rearguard action at the third reading of the main bill. Indeed, on 4 June, Sandys was obliged to answer ‘point by point’ the counter-arguments advanced by the recorder of London, Sir Henry Montagu.63 Sandys’s persuasiveness was such that when the bill was finally put to the question two days later, it passed with barely 40 Members dissenting.64

Free trade, wardship and the Union were the issues that most occupied Sandys in 1604, but others, chiefly relating to religion and the Church, also caught his attention. On 19 Apr. he was named to attend the joint conference with the Lords on religion. Later, on 5 May, he participated in a lengthy debate on religion, when, possibly to head off the imminent suspension of those parish clergy who were threatening to refuse to subscribe to the new Canons, he suggested a bill ‘to establish unity in a middle course, between the bishops and ministers’. On 4 June he was appointed to help consider two bills regarding pluralism. Two further nominations - one to consider a bill to prevent the import and printing of popish books (6 June) and another to ensure church attendance (27 June) - also came his way.65 Sandys played a relatively minor role in the disputes relating to the Buckinghamshire election, but was nevertheless asked to help draft the message to the king justifying the House’s proceedings and was named to three separate committees in connection with the issue.66 On 12 May he was asked to help consider a bill for draining lands in and around the Isle of Ely, an issue that was undoubtedly of interest to his brother, the fen-drainer Sir Miles Sandys*, who had settled in the Isle about three years earlier.67

III. The 1605/6 Session

In August 1604, shortly after the Parliament was prorogued, Sir Henry Neville I* reported a rumour that either Sandys or Sir John Holles* would soon be offered the job of ambassador to Paris in succession to Sir Thomas Parry*. Neville, a former ambassador to France himself, thought that while Holles would probably decline such an offer, Sandys ‘I am sure, will not’.68 This was a revealing comment from a well-informed source, and confirms the suspicion that Sandys was desperate for advancement. It may also suggest that Cecil, at least, was contemplating rewarding Sandys for his recent work in the Commons. James, of course, had little reason to thank Sandys, but the idea of posting him abroad may have seemed attractive, as it would keep him from the Commons when Parliament reconvened. In the event, however, Parry was not recalled and the opportunity to neutralize Sandys was allowed to slip. Sandys’s chances of significant office may have diminished further in June 1605, when his Relation of the state of Religion was finally printed. Sandys later averred that it was published without his permission, and that the manuscript used was merely ‘a spurious stolen copy ... throughout most shamefully falsified’. Certainly the book appeared without Sandys’s name on the title page, but the publisher was so reputable that it seems unlikely to have been printed without consent. The book was an instant success, going through at least two editions in just over four months,69 and Sandys consequently became something of a celebrity. Indeed, when a Middlesex magistrate was asked to explain his refusal to release two of Sandys’s servants on bail in 1606, he replied that it was ‘for desire to be acquainted with Sir Edwin Sandys, which he desired having read some of his book’.70

Although the Relation proved popular with a wide audience, it attracted the disapproval of the Court of High Commission, which on 3 Nov. 1605 ordered all copies to be burned. The court may have been alarmed at the book’s even-handed treatment of Catholicism, which some would later interpret, incorrectly, as evidence that Sandys leaned towards Rome. On 7 Nov. it was rumoured that Sandys himself approved of the book’s suppression, but given the recent discovery of the Gunpowder Plot he was unlikely to have said otherwise.71 No further edition of the Relation appeared in English until 1629, although versions in Italian and French were nevertheless printed in 1608 and 1626 respectively. The Italian translation was the work of William Bedell, chaplain to England’s ambassador in Venice, Sir Henry Wotton. Bedell thought the Relation so good it was ‘as if God had directed the pen of the author’, and he hoped that his translation would help convert Venetians to Protestantism.72

Sandys was evidently present when Parliament reopened on 5 Nov. 1605, as he was named to a committee.73 The discovery of the Gunpowder Plot created a wave of anti-Catholic feeling in the Commons, and though not a fanatical anti-Catholic Sandys was appalled at the attempt to destroy the king and Parliament. On 21 Jan. 1606 he was appointed to consider ways of preventing further plots, while on 22 Mar. he was greeted with applause when he announced that he had advised Archbishop Bancroft to have all recusants banished from the capital and the surrounding area for the rest of the session.74 It was not merely the presence of recusants in and around London that disturbed Sandys, but also the steady stream of English and Scots who left to enlist in the army of the archdukes. On 6 Feb., in a ‘very well and comely speech’, he seconded Sir Christopher Parkins who, perhaps acting as a spokesman for Cecil, urged the House to pass legislation curbing the recruitment of British subjects to the Spanish cause. On the basis of information received from gentlemen who had visited the Spanish Netherlands, Sandys declared that the Englishmen serving under the archdukes ‘have no speech so frequent as the state of England to be altered by their endeavours’.75

One of the consequences of the widespread relief felt at the failure of the Gunpowder Plot was that the Commons was unusually willing to loosen its control of the purse strings. Sandys himself was prepared to vote two subsidies and four fifteenths to demonstrate the House’s ‘love, virtue [and] thankfulness’, and on 10 Feb. he dismissed any suggestion that the country was too poor to pay the amounts involved, asserting that ‘the poverty of the land [is] as much eased as may be’. However, when James demanded a larger sum he changed his tune, claiming on 8 Mar. that the recent plague outbreak had ‘wasted more’ than if there had been 100 years of continual war. He added, somewhat unconvincingly, that ‘I speak not to hinder liberality’. Six days later, in ‘a short, eloquent speech’, he moved that the money already voted should ‘go alone and not be tainted with any heavy or unpleasing gift’. If the king required a greater sum, the House should consider ‘some other projects’ instead.76 However, although many shared Sandys’s misgivings, the House agreed four days later by a single vote to increase the number of subsidies to three.

Sandys’s unwillingness to vote more money may have stemmed from anger at the king’s reaction to John Hare’s bill for reforming the abuses connected with purveyance. This bill aimed, in effect, to abolish purveyance altogether, leaving the king with a bare right of pre-emption at market prices. Sandys supported both this radical measure and its author, and when on 14 Feb. Hare got into trouble with the Upper House for denouncing the abuses of purveyors with too much fervour and refusing to surrender his copy of the articles against them, Sandys rushed to his defence. On 20 Feb. he warned his colleagues that ‘Parliament is no Parliament’ if Members were not permitted to speak freely, and he suggested that the Lords should not, in future, ‘censure any without the judgment of this House’. Two days later he was appointed to a small committee to write a message defending Hare’s conduct and ask the Lords to forbear in future ‘all taxations and reprehensions in conferences’.77 Hare’s unpopularity among the Lords reflected the fact that its members, swayed by Cecil, now earl of Salisbury, wanted the Commons to buy out the king’s right to purveyance rather than curtail it. This was unacceptable to Sandys, who agreed with Hare that the Commons could not offer to buy out something that was illegal. In a speech lasting an hour-and-a-half, he warned on 8 Mar. that it might be ‘dangerous to compound’. Were Members to do so they would set an unfortunate precedent, for ‘we might by the same reason also be drawn to compound for removing any other grievance’. Nevertheless, Sandys appreciated the king’s difficulty, for if he were forced to pay the market price for goods without compensation his already precarious finances would worsen. Consequently, he suggested finding a new source of income that would adequately compensate the king for the loss of purveyance. His own proposal, undoubtedly devised after consultation with his brother Sir Miles, was to grant the king the profits of draining the fens in the Isle of Ely, which he estimated would take seven years. The cost, which he put at around £40,000, would be borne by the taxpayer, and the scheme would be managed by a group of undertakers, ‘with whom I have spoken’.78 These evidently included Sir John Scott, Sir Henry Neville I, Sir Maurice Berkeley, Sir Herbert Croft, Sir Thomas Smythe, Lawrence Hyde and Henry Yelverton, all of whom were then serving alongside Sandys in the Commons.79 Many in the House considered this an excellent proposal, for as one commentator has observed, it neatly tackled ‘the problem of the king’s necessity without conceding the point that there was nothing to buy out’. John Bond, for instance, declared on 11 Mar. that he ‘likes Sir Edwin Sandys his project best’. Another merit of the scheme was that it would make it easier for the king to ‘live of his own’, as his subjects expected, rather than ‘meddle with the possessions of his people’, and in the short term it would provide an alternative to the king’s demand for a third subsidy. Indeed, when Sandys mentioned ‘other projects’ during the subsidy debate on 14 Mar. he was clearly referring to his own fen drainage proposal. However, although this project was revived in early May, James showed no interest in pursuing Sandys’s offer. 80

The debates over purveyance and taxation in 1606 clearly indicate that Sandys no longer considered himself a client of Salisbury’s. Although he seconded Salisbury’s attempt to stem the flow of volunteers that swelled the ranks of the archdukes’ armed forces, and belonged to the committee to consider the bill to permit Salisbury to enlarge his house on the Strand (5 May),81 he was not as anxious to earn Cecil’s favour as perhaps he had been in 1604. On the contrary, as the fen drainage project showed, he was prepared to advance his own proposals instead. Another area in which Sandys took the lead was in religion. On 8 Feb. he presented to the Commons a bill ‘for the better establishing of true religion’, which he had almost certainly drafted himself. Referred to the committee for church causes (13 Feb.), of which he was a member, it was criticized for requiring that alteration of points of religion by Parliament should depend on the advice of Convocation. Sandys, however, firmly defended Convocation’s right to be involved, as ‘every man ought to be advised withal and to direct in his own profession’. Besides, were Parliament to exclude Convocation ‘the papists would say, not without show, that we professed only a statute religion’ (24 February). Many of his colleagues remained unconvinced, and on 13 Mar. he asked for a recommitment. He subsequently brought the bill back to the Commons (18 Mar.), where it was ordered to be engrossed, but it failed to receive a third reading.82

As well as introducing his own bill, Sandys was named to consider measures relating to ecclesiastical government (25 Feb. and 1 Apr.) and the restoration of deprived ministers (7 March).83 Moreover, twice in May he participated in debates on religion.84 On 13 May his name headed the list of Members who were to confer with the Speaker that afternoon to discuss what the king should be told about ‘ministers and other ecclesiastical grievances’.85 Sandys criticized William Holt on 4 Apr. for casting aspersions on the loyalty of Henry Yelverton, who sought to defer the reading of the bill for the attainder of the Gunpowder plotters. Hasty condemnation of the plotters, he pointed out, would merely play into the hands of Catholic propagandists. Sandys had good cause to defend Yelverton, who had agreed to help him manage the draining of the Cambridgeshire fens for the king.86

Although Sandys failed to gain acceptance for his own bill, a measure to confirm the foundation and property of his old Oxford college, Corpus Christi, was enacted. There is no direct evidence that he was responsible for steering this bill through the House, but he was the first Member named to the committee on 6 Mar. after the privy councillors and he brought the measure in from committee five days later.87 Sandys was a member of two committees appointed in April to contemplate the House’s grievances and place them in a petition.88

Another matter Sandys continued to pursue was free trade. Although there is little trace of his activity in the Commons Journal and surviving diaries, he was clearly a pivotal figure in the renewed attack on the London trading companies, and in particular the newly incorporated Spanish Company. Indeed, he was appointed to consider both the charter of the Spanish Company (5 Nov.), and the grievances associated with it (28 January). When a bill to abolish the Company received a second reading, it was referred to the committee established in November, to which Sandys belonged. Sandys undoubtedly helped get the bill onto the statute book, but all that is certain is that on 2 May he reported a conference with the Lords about the measure. As well as participating in the attack on the Spanish Company, Sandys was appointed to consider the Muscovy trade (20 Mar.) and a new free trade bill (3 April).89

Although not mentioned in the parliamentary records after 17 May, when he was named to a private bill committee,90 Sandys clearly attended for most of the session. The mass exodus in March of the lawyer-Members, caused by the assizes, therefore vexed Members like him, and on 26 Mar. he was added to the privileges committee to consider the problem. Five days later, when the House considered whether the Speaker should write to the sheriffs of each county requiring them to instruct the absentees to return, Sandys defended the use of the word ‘require’, claiming that it meant ‘no more than to desire’, for so it was used ‘in all the north parts where he had lived’. However, when the king objected that the sheriffs were his servants rather than the Commons’, Richard Martin proposed that James be asked to issue a Proclamation instead, whereupon Sandys concurred.91

IV. The 1606/7 Session

When Parliament reassembled in November 1606 the main item on the agenda was the Union. Although James had abandoned the idea of obtaining statutory authority to use the name ‘Great Britain’, he now wanted to ensure that the Scots were legally considered full citizens of England and to abolish the hostile laws between both kingdoms. Sandys, whose devastating interventions in April 1604 had been so decisive, was at first remarkably reticent. Indeed, before the last week of February 1607 he evidently allowed Nicholas Fuller and the rest of his colleagues to do most of the running, perhaps because the main subject then under discussion was the abolition of the hostile laws, a matter better handled by the lawyer-Members. That said, on 27 Nov. he suggested that the question of the hostile laws should be thoroughly considered before any discussions were held with the Lords, and on 15 Dec. he participated in a poorly recorded debate on the same subject, when he agreed with Sir George More. He was also appointed to attend the joint conference of 25 Nov. 1606 and serve on the committee for considering matters of hostility and commerce (11 Dec. 1606) mentioned in the Instrument of the Union.92 Even after Parliament reassembled in mid-February, Sandys initially remained on the sidelines. Apart from opposing unsuccessfully the expulsion of Sir Christopher Piggott for his intemperate outburst against the Scots (16 Feb.), he seems to have said nothing before 23 Feb., when the House was preparing to confer with the Lords about naturalization, the issue in which he was clearly most interested. He suggested that as the matter had several dimensions it should be divided up between a number of different speakers. The House concurred, and on the following day he and nine other Members were appointed spokesmen. Sandys and two others chosen modestly asked to be replaced, but permission was evidently refused. On 25 Feb., in a speech described by his most recent biographer as ‘typically magisterial’, Sandys told the Lords that if the English naturalized the Scots but the Scots failed to reciprocate it would be ‘very unequal and unreasonable’, and he concluded by saying that the Scots ‘are better than aliens but not equal with natural subjects’.93

The Lords, however, sought the legal advice of the judges, who informed them that those Scots born since James’s accession - the post-nati - were natural-born subjects of both kingdoms. The Commons was appalled, and on 6 Mar. it turned itself into a grand committee to consider the matter in detail. The following day Sandys reported the committee’s deliberations. These, he stressed, remained incomplete because the questions raised were so extensive that there had not been enough time go through all of them. Nevertheless, the committee had agreed that the judicial ruling should be challenged, as it was far from clear that the judges had the authority to decide in this case. ‘Though the judges are always and in all place reverend’, observed Sandys, ‘yet are not their words so weighty when they are but assistants to the Lords in Parliament as when they sit judicially in courts of justice’ and ‘have an oath to tie them’.94

These technical objections were not very persuasive, and had they been the essence of the committee’s findings the Commons’ case would have been extremely weak. Perhaps realizing this, the committee had also decided to focus upon the sort of Union desired by the king. Reporting this part of the debate, Sandys began by remarking that there were two kinds of unions. The first preserved the separate identities of both kingdoms, while the second involved a complete merger. This second type, dubbed a ‘perfect’ Union, was the one ‘which we desire’, but the main obstacle to progress was not English hostility but Scottish intransigence. For there to be a perfect Union the Scots would have to renounce their own laws and ‘be ruled by our laws’, yet they had ‘reserved in the Instrument [of the Union] all their laws’, even though ‘His Majesty desireth a perfect Union’. It was they who were trying to keep the kingdoms divided by insisting on naturalization and the right to retain their own laws. Another obstacle was Scotland’s relationship with France. The Scottish nobility was treaty-bound to aid the king of France against England, so unless the Scots were prepared to renounce their French allegiance they risked becoming traitors.95

Few in the Commons really desired a ‘perfect’ Union, but it was a masterstroke to pretend that they did. The author of this new strategy was never clearly identified, but it seems likely that it was Sandys. The beauty of this approach, as one commentator has observed, is that it placed the House ‘beyond criticism’, since its Members ‘now appeared to be following the king’s real wishes’. Furthermore, Members had cleverly made it appear that the cause of any difficulty lay with the Scots rather than themselves. Indeed, they now claimed that Scottish obstructionism, coupled with the limited aims set out in the Instrument, sadly prevented the complete Union that they so fervently desired. When the earls of Salisbury and Northampton announced that afternoon at a joint conference that the Upper House desired a perfect Union, albeit ‘with restrictions’, Sandys, who had been appointed to speak for the Commons, replied that the Lower House shared this objective but was prevented by the Instrument of the Union. One week later, on 14 Mar., he bluntly told the Lords that the English Parliament was ‘tied to the imperfect Union, not by our own choice’ but by a Scottish Act of Parliament and the resolution of the commissioners of the Union, expressed in the Instrument. Salisbury was incensed, and insisted that the Instrument was entirely satisfactory and that the perfect Union, as defined by the Commons, should be left to ‘time and opportunity’. However, Sandys would not be deflected, and when the conference broke up Salisbury told the Commons’ delegation that the Lords hoped ‘that we never meet with them who are like to take a dissent for displeasure’. This remark was clearly directed at Sandys, his former client, who had earlier regretted having ‘to deliver anything displeasing to your lordships, and dissent is always displeasing’. Salisbury’s annoyance, however, contrasts with ‘the general commendation’ with which Sandys’s speech was received in the Commons.96 Over the next couple of weeks, leading Members of the House, such as Lawrence Hyde I, persisted in maintaining the fiction that the Commons was willing ‘to work the perfect Union, as being best for both kingdoms’, and in claiming that the matter could be swiftly brought to a satisfactory conclusion if only the Scottish Parliament would ‘renew and enlarge their commission’.97

Sandys was now the darling of the Commons, but he had yet to make his finest stroke. When the Commons reassembled after Easter, he brilliantly turned the House’s strategy on its head, and in so doing delivered a knockout blow to the Union. Ever since 7 Mar. the Commons had claimed that it was prevented from proceeding with the Union by Scottish unreasonableness and the terms of the Instrument. However, on 28 Apr., in a ‘long, learned speech’, presented ‘with method and variety of argument’, Sandys urged the Commons to bring about the perfect Union that, he claimed, James had wanted ever since his accession. It was, after all, ‘more easy to be effected than the imperfect’, as there was no need to establish the status of the pre- and post-nati. All that was needed was to pass a single law, and to do this it would be necessary to establish a single legislature, for even were the Scots to adopt the English Common Law wholesale, ‘until there be one Parliament there cannot be one law’. There would also have to be only one lord chancellor and one great seal, for otherwise those charged with offences in either country would evade prosecution by simply crossing the border. Sandys’s speech so surprised his colleagues that they were temporarily stunned into silence. The next day, however, Nicholas Fuller declared it to be ‘a good plot’, since there was no point in uniting the laws of the two countries ‘if the government be not one’. On 30 Apr. Christopher Brooke ‘commended the motion of Sir Edwin Sandys’, adding that it should have been thought of sooner, while Lawrence Hyde, who had ostensibly been arguing for a perfect Union himself, claimed that the motion ‘was no digression’ and ‘ought to be followed’. The Speaker’s warning that to pursue Sandys’s suggestion ‘would cross all our former proceedings’ went unheeded. 98

James was furious, as he clearly understood that those who advocated the perfect Union only did so in order to sabotage the entire project. Addressing both Houses on 2 May, he warned that ‘these men that thus interpret, mark them well and you shall find that they propound and pray for that they would most shun’. While he desired ‘an absolute and full Union’, he no longer required a perfect Union, which he knew from past experience was not acceptable. James warned the Commons to ‘beware of all fanatical spirits’, and condemned ‘that speech of "love me little, love me long"’ as ‘a damned speech, for love and affection must be ardent’. Needless to say, the author of these offensive comments was none other than Sandys, who had uttered them during his debate with Salisbury on 14 March.99

Far from being cowed by this reprimand, the Commons was outraged that some of their Members had been chided for expressing their opinions, and on 6 May it was resolved to ask James to permit those ‘as have been expressly blamed or taxed’ to clear themselves in his presence. The House was no less irritated that one of their number had been telling the king precisely what was said in the chamber. When Sir Robert Wingfield, a Cecil client, argued that there was nothing improper in relaying debates to the king provided it was done truthfully, Sandys retorted that ‘those things were not so spoken in the House as they were reported’ and that a true reporter related not merely the words spoken but the purpose behind them, adding ‘neither sugar nor gall’. He ended by gently chiding Wingfield for suggesting that it was James’s fault if speeches were misinterpreted.100

The Union was now in tatters thanks, in no small part, to Sandys’s clear thinking, brilliant oratory and native cunning. There remained, however, the bill to abolish hostile laws, which was capable of being treated separately and which was subsequently enacted. Sandys, though, had shown little interest in this legislation before Christmas, and played only a minor role in the subsequent discussions.101 He nevertheless remained deeply interested in trade, and when the free trade bill reappeared in the House he was appointed to the committee (26 Nov. 1606).102 Moreover, when London’s merchants complained of their mistreatment in Spain, Sandys was not only named to the investigating committee (28 Feb.) but also presented its report (13 May). On 16 May he was dispatched to ask the Lords to join the Commons in presenting a petition to the king, and on 15 June he was ‘chiefly appointed’ to speak at the resultant conference.103 Questions of religion also continued to attract his attention, and in one case - concerning the bill to amortize lands to poor churches and for the better serving of cures - he was the first-named member of the committee.104 Legislation in general seems not to have interested Sandys, but on 9 June he introduced his own bill to prevent ‘fraud and wrong-doing in private acts of Parliament’, an action prompted by a clause ‘which doth not help’ in the bill to sell lands belonging to the lands of the earl of Derby, which had been committed six days earlier. The measure received a second reading on 10 June and was entrusted to the committee for Derby’s bill, of which Sandys himself was a member, but it failed to progress.105

Sandys was one of the few Members who remained in the House at the beginning of July, when he was appointed to consider the bill to prevent unlawful assemblies (1 July), drafted in response to the Midlands Rising. The following day he opposed continuing a Marian law on the same subject, and was rewarded with a narrow victory at the division. On the penultimate day of the session, he reported from the committee that had been set up two weeks earlier to examine the clerk’s Journal. At the same time he was instructed to examine the accounts for the Members’ collection, and to help decide how to spend the money.106

V. The Sessions of 1610

During the interval between the third and fourth sessions, Sandys started to become involved in the affairs of Virginia, having been appointed to the colony’s fledgling council on 9 Mar. 1607. As well as signing letters on its behalf, he and Francis Bacon appear to have drafted together the second royal charter for the colony in May 1609.107 Local interests also proved diverting. In 1609 Sandys spent considerable sums in draining the area around Northbourne,108 which had supplanted Bishops Enbrooke as his principal residence in Kent. On James’s accession Northbourne manor had been granted to Anne of Denmark as part of her jointure and sometime before the summer of 1605 Sandys, who had been leasing only the manor house until then, had exploited his position on her Council by obtaining the lease of the entire manor for 80 years at an annual rent of £40 13s. 11d.109

When Parliament reassembled in February 1610, Sandys quickly re-established his dominant position in the Commons by becoming the chairman of a committee of the whole House, a body which had only recently emerged and whose rules of debate differed from those of the House. Whereas Members were normally allowed to speak only once on a single topic, the committee permitted them to speak as often as they wished, thus allowing a proper exchange of views. Sandys had realized the importance of this distinction, and in November 1606 had persuaded the House to establish a grand committee to improve preparations ahead of conferences with the Lords. In return, he had been appointed its chairman.110 This short-lived body seems to have impressed Sandys, and on 15 Feb. 1610 he suggested the establishment of a similar committee to consider grievances in general. Appointed chairman of this new committee, it seems unlikely that Sandys initially envisaged its permanent existence. Indeed, on 19 Feb. he advised that it should be closed automatically unless a further meeting was proposed in the House. Nevertheless, over the next few months the committee continued to meet, albeit sporadically and at different times of the week. Sandys soon came to regard this haphazard arrangement as unsatisfactory, and on 19 Mar. he proposed daily gatherings. There was little enthusiasm for this suggestion, perhaps because daily meetings would leave too little time for other committees to assemble. Consequently, on 30 Apr. Sandys proposed that the committee should meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the afternoon, and every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from seven in the morning until eight o’clock, before the Speaker came. This revised suggestion was adopted, but the timetable outlined by Sandys may not have been followed in practice. Indeed, as early as 10 May Sandys complained that Friday was the ‘only day in the week for grievances’.111

Despite these hiccups, Sandys had achieved an important new position as chairman of the Commons’ first standing grand committee. For the rest of the session he busily reported the proceedings of the new committee to the House.112 Among the grievances it considered were matters relating to the Church, such as recusancy, the silencing of able ministers, pluralism and nonresidence. These issues were dear to his heart, and on 23 Apr. he made a suggestion regarding the implementation of the recusancy laws that was referred to his own committee.113 As well as the chairmanship of the grievances committee, Sandys was one of only ten Members appointed to the privileges committee (9 February). However, claims that he chaired this committee are mistaken,114 nor is there any basis for the suggestion that Sandys saw in this committee a body capable of steering through the business of the House.115 Sandys’s main interest in the privileges committee was to enlist its help to make the work of the grievances committee easier. Indeed, on 27 Mar. he proposed that it should find a way to ‘prevent the preferring of grievances like pasquils’ while still preserving the House’s liberty to receive and discuss grievances in general. He was evidently entrusted with this task himself, and on 30 Mar. he reported the recommendations ‘conceived in writing by the committee’.116

Sandys’s committee positions reflected the esteem in which he was held in the House, but the issue which kept him to the fore throughout the fourth session was the Great Contract. On 17 Feb. he reported Salisbury’s speech of two days earlier outlining the king’s demands, and chaired the subsequent debate, conducted in grand committee. Four days later he reported from the grievances committee, describing the king’s demands as ‘high’ and suggesting that the proposed bargain should include the abolition of wardship, which Salisbury had hitherto failed to mention.117 Although it was Sir Henry Montagu who went on to report the conference with the Lords held on 24 Feb., Sandys was appointed to the committee established on 1 Mar. to draft a message to the peers announcing that the House could not devise any means to supply the king except subsidy. Two days later he resumed his duties as a reporter.118 When, on 14 Mar., the House learned that it would be permitted to debate wardship as requested, it resolved to thank the Lords ‘according to Sir Edwin Sandys his project’. An alternative suggestion made the next day by Montagu was rebuffed, whereupon Sandys was dispatched with the message. 119

Early in May Sandys helped bring about a temporary end to the negotiations by persuading his colleagues to offer to compound for wardship separately. When Salisbury rejected this proposal Sandys, who reported the lord treasurer’s speech, advised his colleagues on 1 May to ‘bargain single’ and ‘not to mingle’.120 Moreover, when the House explained its position to the Lords a few days later, Sandys helped three of his colleagues draft the message, whose wording he defended from the criticism of Sir William Cope.121 Salisbury’s displeasure at the Commons’ stance caused the House to turn its attention to impositions instead. Sandys, who advised the House on 30 Apr. to instruct the king’s lawyers in the Commons to produce the precedents that allegedly permitted James to levy them, shared the widespread hostility towards impositions. Indeed, on 14 June he claimed that the country would ‘rather pay ten subsidies’ than suffer them to continue. However, James initially refused to permit any discussion of his right to impose. Like most of his colleagues, Sandys was dismayed by this prohibition, and on 22 May he commented that James ‘hath entertained some suspicion or conceit that we intend to impugn a prerogative inherent to the Crown, descended to him from his ancestors’. James’s fears were needless, he added, as the Commons had no intention of challenging his rights, ‘for none sits in this place that hath not taken an oath to assist and defend all privileges, pre-eminences and authorities granted or belonging to the king’. Moreover, since James had sworn at his coronation to uphold and protect the laws and customs of the realms he saw no need to despair of an eventual solution.122 The immediate issue, however, was James’s refusal to allow discussion rather than the question of his right to impose, and this was addressed at that afternoon’s meeting of the grievances committee chaired by Sandys. At this gathering a sub-committee was appointed, which resolved that Sandys should draft a petition of right ‘into such form as he should like’.123

Having helped halt the negotiations over the Great Contract, Sandys was now largely responsible for reviving them by cleverly linking the subject with the issue of impositions. The petition prepared by him on the latter was read on 23 May, and it declared that the House had no intention to reverse the judgment in Bate’s Case but merely wished to understand ‘the reasons whereupon the same was grounded’. It also stated that Members wanted to prevent the introduction of any more such duties, and if permission were granted to debate impositions they would find it easier to pass ‘cheerfully ... on to Your Majesty’s business, from which this stop hath by diversion so long withheld us’. This was a barely coded way of saying that if the king allowed the House to debate impositions, the Commons would reconsider the Contract. The House readily endorsed Sandys’s wording, and the following day it dispatched a deputation to the king at Greenwich. James was delighted with the petition, and lavishly entertained the Commons’ representatives. Sandys, however, was not a member of this deputation,124 his recent leadership of the opposition to the Union perhaps having rendered his presence undesirable.

Although Sandys had helped obtain permission to discuss impositions, he took little part in the subsequent debates, which were dominated by the lawyer-Members. Nevertheless, he continued to play a pivotal role, reporting from the committee that searched the Tower for precedents (15, 19 and 22 June), summarizing a meeting of the grand committee regarding impositions (3 July), and setting down for posterity the arguments for and against impositions (10 July). He also helped prepare for a conference with the Lords, and the impositions bill was referred to him and five others for consideration (14 July).125 His continuing importance was recognized by Salisbury in mid-July, who conferred secretly with him and seven other senior Members in Hyde Park over impositions.126

Sandys also continued to play a leading role in the negotiations over the Contract. On 16 July he offered, on behalf of the Commons, to give the king £180,000 annually in return for the surrender of various prerogative rights, most notably wardship and purveyance. Some Members had thought this sum too little, as the king had demanded £220,000, but Sandys defended it as ‘large’ and an ‘exceeding great sum’.127 Salisbury, however, thought it inadequate, and next day the Lower House raised its offer to £200,000. While waiting to see whether this new sum would be accepted, Sandys turned to consider some of the fine details of the Contract. Reporting from committee on 18 July, he presented the House with a petition concerning the four English border counties which fell under the jurisdiction of the Council in the Marches of Wales. In the following debate, however, he admitted that the petitioners’ request to be allowed the same legal rights as the rest of England was ‘a motion of some few private men and not for the common good’.128 The next day he made a series of requests on behalf of the Commons at a conference with the Lords and formally presented the House’s revised offer, a task he performed so well that Salisbury observed that he had ‘never heard all things belonging unto the Contract [expressed] in fewer words’ and that Sandys had ‘cleared the passages to the Contract’. Sandys himself later claimed that he had forgotten to mention some things, and apologized for having not made a better job of his speech,129 but in fact he had acquitted himself so well that, for the rest of the session, he seems to have been regarded by the House as its unofficial leader. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than the events of 20 July. First, he was put in the chair while the articles of the Contract were considered. Then, after resuming his ordinary seat, he not only reported the committee’s discussions but read out ‘a form of settling this Contract’ that he had drafted, which was approved. Finally, the Commons, then preparing for yet another conference with the Lords, appointed him its spokesman, and quite exceptionally permitted him ‘to propound according to his own direction’.130

Although the king and Commons had reached agreement in principle over the amount of annual financial support needed by James, little had been said about the money required to pay off his debts. Sandys favoured a small grant rather than the £600,000 demanded by Salisbury, and consequently, on 11 July he opposed adding a fifteenth to the single subsidy already agreed ‘if it were in regard of ... magnificence’.131 Six days later he told the Lords that recent floods, fires, plague outbreaks and unseasonable weather prevented greater generosity.132

Sandys supported the bishops’ leases bill, being named to the committee on 25 Apr. and acting as a teller in its favour on 14 July. His own financial interest was involved, as he continued to be associated with the Yorkshire prebend of Wetwang, as a petition submitted to the House by Henry Thurscross, prebend of Osbaldwick, demonstrated. Thurscross wished to prosecute Sandys in connection with a lease, and asked the Commons to waive Sandys’s privilege, but the request was naturally refused.133 Another bill in which Sandys showed an interest concerned Reginald Rous of Baddingham, Suffolk, who sought statutory authority to break an entail: on 24 May he acted as a teller for the yeas in a division over whether to commit the measure, and was subsequently named to the committee. Sandys was the first Member after the king’s lawyers to be named to the committee for the fen bill on 26 March.134 In view of his previously expressed enthusiasm for draining the Cambridgeshire fens and his own recent experience in recovering land around Northbourne this was not surprising.

Sandys may have missed the opening of the final session of the Parliament on 16 Oct. 1610, as there is no mention of him in the records until 8 November. However, he must have been present by 6 Nov. because on the 8th he not only sat as chairman of the grand committee but was instructed to help prepare the Commons’ answer to the king’s demand for supply as well as support, which he could not have done had he been absent earlier.135 He remained in the Commons for at least the next two weeks, during which time Thurscross unsuccessfully tried to add a proviso to the tithes bill that would allow him to prosecute Sandys (12 November).136 On 16 Nov. Sandys was one of 30 Members summoned privately by James to discuss the Contract that afternoon. The discussion eventually turned to impositions, ‘concerning which Sir Edwin spake to the king in justification of the proceeding of the Lower House in the business’. When the rest of the House learned of this meeting there was considerable disquiet, and on 21 Nov. it was proposed that those who had spoken should report what was said. Sandys himself seconded this motion,137 but played no further recorded part in the Parliament, which ended in failure on 6 December.

VI. The Addled Parliament

In the immediate aftermath of the Parliament James was angry with the Commons, but chronic financial problems made it difficult for him to avoid another meeting. As early as mid-October 1611 it was rumoured that a fresh Parliament would assemble in the following spring, and speculation continued into January.138 Were Parliament to be reconvened Sandys might expect to sit again, but James perhaps had other plans. Indeed, on 25 Sept. 1611 John More*, a well-informed source, reported that Sir Edwin would shortly succeed William Trumbull* as ambassador to Brussels. The same rumour was communicated from Madrid in early February 1612.139 However, talk of a fresh Parliament quickly petered out, and with it all speculation about an ambassadorial post for Sandys.

Sometime over the next couple of years, and certainly by the end of 1613, Sandys entered the circle of the royal favourite, the earl of Somerset. Exactly how this happened is not clear, but the most likely route was through his friend Thomas, Lord Clinton, whose wife’s sister was married to Somerset’s father-in-law, Thomas Howard, 1st earl of Suffolk. Now that Sandys was a Somerset client, an important threat to royal control of any future Parliament at last seemed to have been removed. Indeed, when Bacon tried to persuade the king in 1613 to call another meeting, he observed that ‘Sandys is fallen off’.140 Nevertheless, in the run-up to the 1614 Parliament some disquiet about Sandys perhaps remained, as Sir Edwin was permitted to purchase for £850 the fee-farm of part, if not all, of the manor of Northbourne, thus giving him, in effect, ownership of his principal estate. The money was paid on 22 Feb., just three days after James ordered the writs of summons to be issued.141

In previous parliaments Sandys had relied upon kinsmen to provide him with borough seats as he lacked sufficient local influence to obtain one for himself. However, by 1614 he was sufficiently confident of his local and national standing to seek election as junior knight of the shire for Kent. He was supported by his cousin, Sir Dudley Digges*, also a Kentish landowner, and Sir Robert Mansell*, treasurer of the navy and a fellow client of the earl of Somerset. An electoral alliance with Sir John Scott* of Smeeth, who agreed to stand for the senior seat, cemented his position. However, Sandys had overestimated his support in Kent, where he held no local office despite having lived there 12 years. He also suffered from being associated with neither the Cobham nor the Sidney factions, both of which had, since the 1580s, divided up the county seats between them. These groupings remained alive despite the fall from office of Henry Brooke alias Cobham†, 10th Lord Cobham, in 1603. Consequently, despite the best efforts of Digges and Mansell, Sandys failed to make headway, and quit the field four or five days before the election on 21 March. Among those he turned to for help was the former Speaker of the Commons, Sir Edward Phelips, who controlled several seats in Somerset. On 20 Mar. Phelips instructed that a seat be reserved for him at Taunton or elsewhere, ‘for he wholly dependeth on me for a place of a burgess’.142

Phelips’s claim was not entirely true, as Sandys’s patron, the earl of Somerset, was also busy on Sandys’s behalf. Somerset wrote to the corporation of Rochester for a seat for Sandys, and although his letter arrived the day after the borough held its election, Rochester’s chief dignitaries offered Sandys a place on 3 Apr. after one of the elected candidates declined to serve. Sandys was at first reluctant to accept, perhaps because the practice of holding two elections on the same writ was so irregular that he feared that he might ultimately be unseated. Moreover, as his reply of 4 Apr. indicates, he had not yet given up hope of another place.143 This hope was well founded, as he was subsequently returned for Hindon, possibly on the interest of the 3rd earl of Pembroke, then a close ally of the earl of Somerset’s father-in-law, Suffolk.144 However, when required to choose on 9 Apr. which seat he would represent Sandys plumped for Rochester.145

Sandys evidently missed the first few days of the session, but had taken his place by 8 Apr., when he was again named to the privileges committee. Parliament assembled amid rumours that a number of leading Members had secretly agreed to manage the Commons for the king. Sandys had earlier been vilified as an ‘undertaker’ himself after he and several other Members had privately met Salisbury in Hyde Park in July 1610, and on 12 Apr. 1614 he complained that it was unjust that several ‘of the most worthy Members of the last and this Parliament should be so unthankfully dealt with’. However, he soon suspected that the rumours were well founded, for as he observed on 14 May, a vote of subsidies was ‘too eagerly followed’ by some of his colleagues at the beginning of the session. In fact, as was soon discovered, the veteran parliamentarian Sir Henry Neville I had presented the king with a plan to manage a future House of Commons almost two years earlier. Sandys was well acquainted with Neville, and was anxious that he should not be censured before being heard. Following an investigation, it was concluded that Neville was not guilty of any impropriety. Sandys evidently shared this conclusion. Indeed, his only criticism was that Neville’s proposals, which had omitted the key question of impositions, had not been more ambitious.146 He showed less sympathy towards the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, Sir Thomas Parry, who was sequestered for abusing his authority in the recent Stockbridge election. His main concern was to ensure that further punishment of Parry be left to the king rather than the House. Despite some opposition, his view prevailed.147

Sandys was reluctant to vote subsidies at the beginning of the Parliament as the king demanded. There were few precedents for doing so, and he may also have suspected that if money was granted immediately the session would be terminated without grievances having been redressed. Instead, he advised his colleagues to postpone consideration of supply until after Easter, by which time, as Thomas Crewe argued, their constituents would have learned of the grace bills that the king was now offering and be more willing to open their purses. In the meantime, Sandys was anxious to re-establish his position as a chairman of one of the grand committees. At his suggestion, the House set up a standing committee for petitions, which performed many of the same functions that in 1610 had been discharged by the committee for grievances. Like its predecessor, this new body was chaired by Sandys, who began by laying down rules for submitting petitions of grievance, for as in 1610 he was concerned that the committee would otherwise be inundated with libels.148 After Easter he also attempted to fix regular times of meeting, just as he had in the previous assembly. Despite opposition from Hakewill, who thought that the committee should ‘be tied to no certain time’, but should meet as often ‘as shall seem good to themselves’, Sandys proposed on 6 May that meetings be held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons, though not until three, presumably to allow bill committees to sit first. Supported by Alford and Croft, this motion was carried.149

Not all of Sandys’s senior colleagues shared his enthusiasm for putting standing committees on a regular footing, perhaps because they were used to more flexible arrangements. When Sandys proposed fixed meeting-times for three other committees, the veteran Member Sir George More responded that it was inconvenient ‘to have such certain days and hours for committees’.150 Sandys remained convinced that he was correct, however, and on 23 May urged that the committee for statutes ‘meet orderly on Mondays’. He also suggested several other improvements to the way that business was organized, some of which were approved. On his motion, the clerk was ordered on 18 Apr. to post lists of committees with their times of meetings on the door of the House each morning.151

It was not only in matters of organization that Sandys led the way. On 9 Apr. he observed that county Durham was the only shire in England without representation at Westminster, a deficiency which he urged the king be asked to remedy. Not everyone approved of this suggestion. Indeed, one Member observed that the men of county Durham held it ‘a privilege not to be bound to the attendance of Parliament’. Nevertheless, the matter was brought to the attention of the committee for petitions, which Sandys himself chaired. On 14 May he reported the committee’s conclusion that despite the bishop of Durham’s opposition, a bill should be drafted and a petition sent to James. When a bill finally emerged, Sandys was named to the committee (31 May). The measure failed to progress further owing to the dissolution.152

As chairman of the committee for petitions, Sandys received a written complaint against the recently instituted order of baronets. Although his brother Sir Miles had recently purchased a baronetcy, Sandys showed no partiality, for when on 23 May Sir Anthony Cope, one of the new baronets, attempted to dismiss the complaint as a libel because it was anonymous, Sandys pointed out that he had removed the name of the author himself in accordance with the orders of the House.153

As a member of the Virginia Company, Sandys asked permission on 17 May for Richard Martin* to address the House on behalf of Sir Thomas Gates, a leading Company member. When Martin subsequently harangued the Commons for failing to prosecute the king’s business, Sandys was forced to claim that he was ‘distracted’ and ‘out of his element’.154 This was not the only occasion that Sandys found himself attempting to mitigate the effects of someone else’s ill chosen words. When Bishop Neile struck at the Commons’ right to free speech on 21 May by claiming that no one who had taken the Oath of Allegiance could in good conscience question the king’s right to impose, Sandys, who shared his colleagues’ indignation, advised them ‘not to tax the reverent degree of bishops by one man’s error’ (26 May).155

Sandys played no recorded part in bringing the potentially explosive question of impositions before the Commons, although a bill was laid before the House in mid-April. On 5 May he was accused by Sir John Savile of slackness in failing to report this measure, which had been committed to the whole House on 18 April. This was not entirely fair, as on 4 May his report had been deferred for lack of time. However, Savile was not alone in thinking that Sandys was prevaricating; one of the diarists also commented that he seemed to be dragging his heels. Perhaps his patron Somerset had advised procrastination, but now that he was prompted, he delivered his report ‘excellently well’. The king’s claim to be entitled to impose, he declared, trenched upon ‘the foundation of all our interests’ and ‘maketh us bondsmen’, as it gave the subject no proprietary interest in his goods. Edward I and Edward III had levied impositions only in time of war, and the latter had asked Parliament for permission to impose. No subsequent monarch had demanded these duties until Mary Tudor, who had been wrongly ‘persuaded thereunto’ by the duke of Alba. James was being similarly deceived by some members of his Council into thinking that he was entitled to impose by right.156 Following this eloquent summary of the Commons’ position, Nicholas Fuller suggested that a conference be held with the Lords in the presence of the king. However, Sandys replied that if James attended he would lose patience, as considerable time would be needed to rehearse all the issues. He also feared that Members would be overawed by the king ‘in his royal seat’, and by the Lords sitting in state. His alternative suggestion, that the Commons should first try to win over the Lords, who were ‘ignorant’ of the issues, and then consult them over whether to proceed by bill or petition, proved persuasive. Consequently, Sandys headed the list of Members named, after the councillors, to prepare for the meeting with the Lords.157

Later in the debate Sandys made a further decisive intervention after the privy councillor, Sir Thomas Lake I, brought the discussion back to supply. Many Members wanted to avoid this subject until the question of impositions was settled, but Sandys, reasoning that James might then dissolve the Parliament, came up with a suggestion since described as ‘ingenious’. Seconded by Hakewill, he proposed telling James that the Commons intended to give it in ‘due time’, when unanimity had been reached. In the previous Parliament a single subsidy had been passed by a margin of only ‘one or two odd voices’, a humiliating experience for the king and one that Elizabeth had never suffered.158 By promising that subsidies would eventually be forthcoming, and by claiming to have the best interests of the king at heart, Sandys hoped to mollify both James and those in the Commons who were not yet ready to contemplate supply.

The eloquence of his report on impositions, the soundness of his advice in respect of a conference, and the brilliance of his proposal regarding subsidies, placed Sandys once more in the driving seat. Over the next few weeks he continued to provide leadership in the matter of impositions. On 12 May he gave a detailed report on the conference with the Lords, declaring that ‘it is impossible to believe of a king so just in his nature that he will lay his own profit in one balance and the subject’s right in another and weigh them together’. At the same time he warned that only when the issue of impositions was satisfactorily settled would it be possible to ‘proceed with more affection and plenitude of liberality’.159 On 16 May, when the House resolved to hold a second meeting with the Lords, Sandys was instructed to inform two of the conference spokesmen ‘what parts they are to handle’.160 Three days later he took the chair while impositions were again debated.161

Up until this point Sandys had echoed the views of most of his colleagues, but on 21 May he delivered one of the most radical speeches of his parliamentary career. Discussion centered on Sir Henry Wotton’s claim that hereditary princes such as James were entitled to impose, whereas elective kings were not. Sandys denied that there was any essential difference between the powers of hereditary and elective monarchs, as hereditary princes were necessarily descended from princes who were at first elected. Consequently, all kings were bound by a contractual relationship with their subjects. In France it was true that the king not only laid an imposition on salt (the gabelle) but made the purchase of salt compulsory, but it would be dangerous to follow French practice, as it would quickly ‘bring all to a tyrannical course’, and result in ‘confusion both to prince and people’. Indeed, for a king the consequences could be disastrous, as was demonstrated by the death ‘of the last great imposing prince’ - a reference, almost certainly, to the assassination of Henri IV four years earlier. Quoting Juvenal, he added that few kings and tyrants go to their graves without violence. In England affairs were not yet as desperate as in France, but nonetheless impositions had increased so much ‘as it is come to be almost a tyrannical government’.162 This was an astonishing speech, for Sandys not only came perilously close to accusing James of tyranny, but also implied that he might come to a bloody end. Moreover, he publicly took issue with James’s well-known faith in the divine right of kings by asserting that monarchs were ultimately appointed by their subjects and answerable to them, an unusual position for an Englishman of his day to adopt.

Sandys was not alone in foreseeing violence. Thomas Wentworth went even further, by insinuating that unless James abandoned impositions he would be murdered like Henri IV, while on 3 June John Hoskins predicted a wholesale massacre of the Scots unless they left England. The following day an angry king threatened dissolution unless the Commons voted supply immediately. Sandys, who like his colleagues refused to condemn Hoskins, described this warning as ‘a great wrong to His Majesty and the whole kingdom’. Speaking on 6 June, he argued that the Commons could not vote subsidies unless the king first laid down impositions, otherwise it ‘might imply an assent to impose in future ages’. He added that the king’s claim that the judgment in Bate’s Case (1606) entitled him to impose was unconvincing, as the judges had no authority to meddle in matters in which the ‘main liberty of the people is engaged’. Nevertheless, Sandys realized that it was essential to break the stalemate that had now been reached. He suggested that Members return a ‘dutiful answer’, which he himself offered to ‘deliver to the committee’. The king should be asked to lift the threat of an immediate dissolution, to promise to refer impositions to Parliament, ‘the ancient triers of the liberties of the kingdom’, and ‘to believe that which they shall present to him’. If James agreed, subsidies would be voted immediately. These suggestions were approved, and that afternoon the grand committee met to consider the draft text, which Sandys reported the next morning. When the wording of the message was criticized, however, Sandys impatiently replied that if anyone else noticed a fault they ‘should show how to mend it’.163 Before the House could agree a final text, news reached it that the Parliament was being dissolved.

Following the dissolution, Sandys was summoned before the Council to explain the meaning of his speech concerning ‘successive and elective kings’. Held in custody for a month, he was released on bond on 10 July.164 In autumn 1615 there was widespread speculation that the king was considering calling a new Parliament to meet in the spring of 1616. On 6 Nov. 1615, however, Sandys was appointed sheriff of Kent. Whether this was done purposely to prevent him from sitting is unknown, but he no longer had a patron to protect him, for in October Somerset had fallen from power. In the event, James decided against a fresh Parliament.165

VII. Sandys and the Virginia Company

In the absence of a Parliament Sandys was obliged to channel his energies into other activities. In 1615 he and the playwright Robert Tailor published a book of hymns drawn from the Psalms ‘for the use of such as delight in the exercise of music’.166 Three years later he offered £100 to found a lectureship at one of the universities, but was rebuffed by the king.167 His main preoccupation, however, was with colonial ventures. In June 1615 he became a founding member of the Somers Island Company, and three years later was appointed its deputy governor. He remained no less active in its parent body, the Virginia Company, being appointed an assistant director in 1616 and 1618. During the later 1610s Sandys became dissatisfied with the management of the Virginia Company which, under its treasurer (i.e. governor) Sir Thomas Smythe*, had run up debts of between £8,000 and £9,000. Under pressure from Sandys and his supporters, Smythe agreed to allow an audit of the Company’s books and to replace the colony’s governor with Sir George Yeardley. However, these were not long-term solutions, and on 28 Apr. 1619 matters came to a head at the Company’s annual leadership election, at which Smythe reluctantly stood down. Bolstered by the friends and allies of the 2nd earl of Warwick (Sir Robert Rich*), who had recently quarrelled with Smythe, Sandys was elected in his place, attracting 59 out of the 100 votes cast. Following his triumph, Sandys outlined his policy for making Virginia profitable. He promised to increase significantly the size of the population and lessen economic reliance on tobacco by diversification. Accordingly, over the following year, Sandys sent many more settlers to Virginia, in the process obtaining a contribution of £500 from London’s citizens, who were desperate to reduce the number of poor in the capital. Moreover, he dispatched capable workers to set up ironworks, intending to exploit the virgin forests of North America and rival English production. Skilled vine-growers were also sent, as well as mulberry seeds to establish silk production.168

Following his capture of the Virginia Company’s leadership, Sandys tried unsuccessfully to displace Smythe as governor of the Somers Island Company. Two months later, in July 1619, he perhaps also sought to oust Smythe as governor of the East India Company, of which Sandys had been a member since at least 1613. In the event, Sandys and five other shareholders had to be content with being appointed directors ‘at large’.169 Smythe undoubtedly resented these multiple attacks on his authority and the loss of the governorship of the Virginia Company. As early as 8 May it was reported that he had begun gathering together a faction that might ‘tax Sir Edwin with many things that might both disgrace him and also put him by his office of governor’,170 but without the support of Warwick he remained powerless. This situation soon began to change, however, for in June 1619 Sandys learned that the Treasurer, a privateer fitted out by Warwick and sent to the Caribbean, had been engaged in piracy against the Spanish. Alarmed lest the Spaniards retaliate by attacking Virginia, Sandys alienated Warwick by trying to have the ship seized. In the following month he deepened the rift by accusing Warwick’s client, the former governor of Virginia, Sir Samuel Argall, of maladministration. However, it was not until February 1620 that Sandys earned the outright enmity of Warwick and his supporters. Without informing Warwick, Sandys summoned a meeting of the Company’s directors, as a result of which the Privy Council was notified of the Treasurer’s acts of piracy against the Spanish, and the Spanish resident in London was informed in writing that the Company had taken action to punish the offenders.171 Warwick was incensed, and in the spring of 1620 he and his supporters allied themselves with Smythe, hoping to topple Sandys at the Company’s forthcoming leadership election.

Although the combined forces of Smythe and Warwick were insufficient to defeat Sandys, Smythe had recently been appointed a navy commissioner and had the ear of the king. James had not forgotten the role played by Sandys in wrecking his cherished Union in 1604 and 1607, nor forgiven him for his outburst against tyrants in May 1614. Now, at last, he had been given the opportunity to exact his revenge. On 17 May 1620, the day on which the election was due to be held, he instructed the Company to restrict its choice to Sir Thomas Smythe, Sir Maurice Abbot*, Sir Thomas Roe* and Alderman Johnson. James’s intervention alarmed Sandys’s supporters, who still dominated the Company. Claiming that James had been ‘much informed’ about Sandys’s management of the Company, and anxious to defend the Company’s right to hold free elections, they resolved to postpone the vote until the next meeting. In the meantime, Sandys was prevailed upon to remain in office, and a deputation was dispatched to remonstrate with the king. At this meeting, James purportedly replied ‘in a furious passion’ that the Company could ‘choose the Devil if you will, but not Sir Edwin Sandys’, whom he considered to be ‘his greatest enemy’.172 Sandys himself sought to persuade his ‘many good friends’ to speak on his behalf, among them secretary of state Sir Robert Naunton*. He also appealed to the royal favourite, George Villiers, marquess of Buckingham, to whom he had already addressed one letter.173 Yet, despite long attendance, he proved unable to gain access to Buckingham. On 7 June he again wrote to Buckingham, claiming that he had accomplished more in his one year in office with £8,000 than Smythe had achieved in 12 with £80,000. Nevertheless, although he wished to serve another term, he offered to withdraw if James refused to budge.174 This letter paved the way for a resolution to the crisis. When the election was finally held, on 28 June, Sandys stepped aside and was chosen to serve as an auditor. In his place the Company elected the earl of Southampton rather than one of the candidates short-listed by James, who now announced that he had never intended to exclude anyone, but had merely wished to recommend those whom he considered to be the best candidates.175

On the face of it Sandys had suffered a devastating blow. In reality, he continued to control the Company through Southampton, to whom he was distantly related and whom he may have converted from Catholicism many years earlier.176 As early as 7 July 1620 he took charge of the agenda, having prepared ‘a project of special importance’ for the better management of the colony. Southampton was content to act as Sandys’s spokesman, and when he left London in December 1620 he asked to hand over management of the Company’s finances to Sandys rather than to the deputy governor, John Ferrar*.177 Sandys’s continued dominance meant that the Company’s earlier divisions remained unhealed. Indeed, in October 1620 Nathaniel Boteler lamented ‘the continual brangles and disputes’ within the Company, and described meetings of its court of governors as ‘cockpits’.178

One of the earliest concerns of the Southampton/Sandys administration was the recent establishment of the New England Company. Early in November Sandys learned that this organization had been granted exclusive fishing rights off the North American coast. Virginia’s inhabitants would be thus forced to buy licences to fish in their own waters, and an additional cost would be imposed on the fishermen who sailed from England, on whose vessels colonists relied for transport. After appealing to the king, Southampton led a deputation to the Privy Council in December. According to him, the Council agreed to suspend the New England patent and upheld the Virginia Company’s right to fish.179 However, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the chief representative of the New England Company, recorded a markedly different outcome, for in his version of events the Council upheld the New England patent. Moreover, he claimed that he was ‘plainly told’ by representatives of the Virginia Company, ‘that howsoever I had sped before the Lords, I should hear more of it the next Parliament’, where ‘they would have 300 more voices than I’.180 Given that Sandys went on to challenge Gorges’s patent in the Commons in 1621, this account may have been more accurate than Southampton’s.

VIII. The Parliament of 1621

When Parliament was again summoned Sandys sought election at Sandwich, the borough closest to Northbourne. This brought him into conflict with his old antagonist, Sir Thomas Smythe, who had held the seat in 1614. However, instead of campaigning for the seat in person, he remained in London, and instead dispatched his friend and ally Thomas Gookyn to muster the necessary votes. Gookyn was aided by the Brownist Thomas Brewer, with whom Sandys had recently been in contact over the possibility of settling in Virginia the English separatists living in Leiden. While Brewer enlisted the support of local puritans, whose religious opinions Sandys did not share, Gookyn promoted Sandys’s credentials as the defender of free trade against Smythe, the governor of the East India Company, an organization to which Sandys himself belonged. At a tumultuous election, held on 29 Dec. these tactics paid off, and Sandys was awarded the senior seat.181

When Parliament assembled at the end of January, Sandys, who was known to be in town, was conspicuous by his absence. On 5 Feb. he was appointed to the privileges committee in anticipation of his imminent arrival, but by the next day he had still not appeared, whereupon his brother, Sir Samuel Sandys, then Member for Worcestershire, explained that he had been detained by Virginia Company business. The Commons was greatly displeased at this and consequently summoned Sandys, who appeared on 7 February. Sandys confirmed his brother’s explanation and also claimed, untruthfully, that he had been elected against his wishes. Furthermore, he condemned his election as void as he had not been sworn a freeman of the borough. The House, which had seldom heard one of its Members describe his own election as invalid, refused Sandys’s request to be spared ‘either wholly, or in part’.182 Nevertheless, his election was investigated, and on 22 Mar. the privileges committee reported unanimously that Sandys’s return was valid.183

Now that he was forced to serve, Sandys may have expected to have been offered the chairmanship of one of the two standing grand committees. However, neither of these positions was bestowed upon him. Clearly angry, on 9 Feb. he upbraided his colleagues for referring the issue of free speech to grand committee before it had been fully debated in the House. The next day he sought to mitigate the offence of Sir John Leedes, whose failure to take the oaths he described as ‘negligence’ rather than ‘presumption’.184

Sandys’s request to surrender his seat may have been connected with the renewal of the Virginia Company’s charter. As early as the summer of 1620 Sandys had been deeply involved in revising the charter, a task which had become more urgent owing to the recent dispute with Gorges over American fishing rights. Certainly the charter was at the forefront of Sandys’s mind when the Commons assembled on 30 Jan. 1621, for the very next day the Company was informed that the king was willing to allow it to proceed. Sandys contined to remain closely involved, and on 22 Feb. he reported progress on the charter in Southampton’s absence, for which the Company gave him ‘many deserved thanks for his great pains taken therein’.185 Sandys was probably also deeply immersed in preparations for reissuing the Virginia Company’s lottery, which had been the mainstay of the Company’s finances. By November 1620 the proceeds of a previous lottery were almost spent and therefore preparations for another were in hand, including, at Sandys’s suggestion, the publication of an explanatory pamphlet, the lottery having recently been ‘much disgraced’ by ‘many foul aspersions cast upon it by malignant tongues’.186

By concentrating on Virginia’s affairs to the exclusion of Parliament Sandys may have committed a serious blunder, for while he was reporting to the Company the progress that had been made in renewing the charter, the Commons heard Sir William Strode object to the Proclamation preventing anyone from speaking against the lottery.187 Two days later, on 24 Feb., several Members proposed that the lottery be suppressed. They were answered, not by Sandys, who seems to have been absent, but by his fellow Virginia Company member Sir Dudley Digges, who urged that ‘so general a good may not be interpreted a grievance’. However, when Strode claimed that the money raised in one shire had been misappropriated, it was ordered that the king be asked to postpone the lottery. By the time Sandys had resumed his seat the following Monday, James had agreed to its suspension, and its revocation if the House found it to be a grievance. Shortly thereafter, on 8 Mar., the lottery was formally suspended by Proclamation.188 Sandys thus paid a heavy price for his absence, for the Virginia Company had now been deprived of its most important source of income.189 Despite this harsh lesson, Sandys continued to find it difficult to combine his parliamentary and Company responsibilities, for on 6 Mar. he again offered the Commons excuses for his recent absence.190

Sandys delivered his first major speech of the session on 12 Feb., when he may still have been smarting at the House’s refusal to let him surrender his seat. Many Members were then anxious that the king was seeking to curtail their right to free speech, but on 9 Feb. Sandys had warned them ‘not to charge His Majesty with breach of custom’. Though every Member was entitled to speak ‘according to his conscience, no man can have any conscience to speak against the king’.191 Three days later Sandys developed this theme, pointing out that under Elizabeth several Members had been imprisoned for introducing a bill to abolish episcopacy, while Peter Wentworth had been sent to the Tower for raising the succession. In such cases, he affirmed, ‘reason of state is above claim of privilege’. Although complimented by Strode for his ‘eloquence’, Sandys’s comments were scarcely calculated to please his listeners. He further courted unpopularity by suggesting that instead of petitioning the king, as had been proposed, they should proceed by bill to punish ‘the extravagant speeches of this House’. In view of Sandys’s own outburst against tyrants in 1614 this was, perhaps, rather ironic, although in all likelihood Sandys’s true purpose was not to punish offenders but to secure for those accused of speaking intemperately the protection of the law. However, as Strode pointed out, if the Commons had to wait until the end of the Parliament, when bills were traditionally enacted, before Members could be assured of their right to free speech, ‘how can we then speak freely this Parliament?’ Although Sandys was supported by Alford, his motion was consequently defeated, and he was ordered to help draft the petition that afternoon.192

Sandys said relatively little over the next two weeks. On 15 Feb. he opposed the granting of fifteenths because they fell hardest upon the poor but supported a proposal for two subsidies. He also suggested that subsidies should be given ‘as a present of love to the king’ rather than for the purpose of recapturing the Palatinate. This was because the sum on offer was insufficient, and if their enemies thought that the money was intended to pay for the reconquest of the Palatinate they would be emboldened rather than struck with fear.193 Four days later he tried to have (Sir) Giles Mompesson’s inns patent condemned as a grievance, but his motion was dismissed as premature, as Mompesson had not yet been heard.194

Sandys re-emerged as a dominant figure on 26/27 Feb., with a series of speeches on the severe trade depression affecting the kingdom. In the first of these, delivered on 26 Feb., he claimed that high unemployment among the poor was attributable to a shortage of coin and the restrictions posed on free trade by grants of monopoly. The situation was so serious that ‘in one place there were 200 looms laid down, and each loom would have set on work 40 persons’. Unless a remedy was found there might be a popular uprising, as in Germany. After he finished he was urged to ‘speak his knowledge’, as he had hinted that he had more to say. Taking up this invitation, Sandys now turned his attention to the shortage of coin. Previously, he said, coin worth £100,000 had entered the kingdom annually, mostly from Spain, which had purchased English goods in specie. However, in recent years this source had dried up, because the Spanish no longer paid in specie but in tobacco, which was then sold in England. Sandys calculated England had thereby lost no less than one million pounds during James’s reign.195

One commentator has argued that Sandys’s speeches of 26 Feb. set the free trade bill of 1621 in motion.196 However, while Sandys may have helped stimulate interest in this bill, which was first read on 2 Mar., his principal target was not monopolies, the main grievance of the free trade lobby, but the trade in Spanish tobacco, which he blamed for the shortage of coin. On the face of it, Sandys, in pointing out that the shortage of coin and the trade in Spanish tobacco were linked, was championing the wider national interest, but in reality his main concern was with the narrow financial interest of the Virginia Company. It is no coincidence that it was earlier that day that he and the Commons had learned that the Company’s lottery was to be suspended. This development threatened the Company’s already precarious finances, making it essential that a new source of income be found immediately. During his governorship of the Company, Sandys had tried to establish several new industries in the colony, such as silk production and iron manufacture, but so far only the planting of tobacco had produced any results. Unfortunately, Virginian tobacco was of limited commercial value as it was widely acknowledged to be inferior to that of the Spanish West Indies. Unless the import of Spanish tobacco could be prevented, Virginia was unlikely to succeed as a commercial enterprise. It was to solve this particular problem, rather than address the causes of the national economic slump, that Sandys spoke on 26 Feb., and why he also claimed, during the course of his second speech, that tobacco ‘may be had as good in Virginia’.197

There were two immediate obstacles to banning the import of Spanish tobacco, and Sandys turned his attention to them the following day. The first was the 1604 Treaty of London, which guaranteed free trade between England and Spain. Sandys, the darling of the free trade lobby in 1604, argued that the treaty could be safely circumvented because there had been no trade in Spanish tobacco at the time it was signed. Moreover, he observed, the treaty was built on uncertain foundations, as the pope had declared that no Catholic country should trade with heretics.198 The second difficulty to be overcome was a patent of monopoly granted in the previous summer to a syndicate led by Sir Thomas Roe, which had been given the sole right to import tobacco. The syndicate dealt mainly in tobacco grown by Spain rather than Virginia or Somers Island, whose inhabitants were thereby deprived of an important market.199 On 22 Feb. the Somers Island Company had suggested sending a petition to the king or Parliament complaining of the great losses suffered by both plantations under the tobacco monopoly.200 However, Sandys was not yet ready to reveal his hand. ‘I do not speak against the patent for tobacco’, he declared, before adding that the main beneficiary of tobacco sales should not be Spain.201

Over the following month the issue of tobacco was set aside, allowing Sandys to pursue other matters. He remained vociferous in his condemnation of Mompesson, whose offences, he declared (1 Mar.), ‘hew at the roots of the kingdom’. Consequently the House chose him (6 Mar.) as the ‘fittest’ Member to advise the Lords on an appropriate punishment at a forthcoming joint conference.202 Following this meeting, which occurred on 8 Mar., Sandys and his fellow spokesmen were reprimanded for failing to draw the Lords’ attention to the ‘referees’, on whose advice Mompesson’s patent had been allowed to pass. It was widely suspected that they had been anxious to avoid implicating Buckingham, but Sandys, after pleading that his role had been ‘rather a matter of form than substance’, announced that ‘he was not afraid at the puff of any wind nor at the frown of any cloud’.203 However, John Chamberlain at least thought that he had acted ‘lamely’.204

The attack on Mompesson formed only one part of a wider assault by the Commons on monopolies. When a bill condemning these grants was reported on 20 Mar. it attracted criticism for seeking to deprive the king of his right to dispense with individual Acts of Parliament. Sandys replied that the intention was not to limit the king’s prerogative but to prevent its transfer to others, as ‘this regal power ought not to be put into the hands of a person that hath not a regal mind’. However, he was unable to prevent the bill from being recommitted.205 Another measure that Sandys supported sought to outlaw swearing, which he declared to be more common ‘in England than in all Christendom’. However, he was not entirely satisfied with the bill, and on 10 Mar. criticized its proposal of a fixed penalty of 10s. per offence as this sum ‘doth neither reach high nor low enough’. On the one hand it was easily affordable by the better sort, whose poor example had ‘occasioned this great abuse’, while on the other it was inappropriate for children, who could not pay.206 Sandys’s desire to amend this legislation contrasts with his unwillingness to tamper with the subsidy bill, in which an exemption was traditionally granted to the Cinque Ports, whose members included his constituency of Sandwich.207

As the Easter recess approached Sandys grew alarmed at the Commons’ slow progress, and on 24 Mar. he suggested that several committees should meet over the holiday.208 Consequently, although the House was formally adjourned on 27 Mar., Sandys and many of his colleagues remained at Westminster where they debated, inter alia, the recusancy bill. On 29 Mar. Sandys advised that the ‘starting holes’ of the papists should be discovered, and on 9 Apr. he agreed that the word ‘recusant’ should be dropped from the bill on the grounds that if a Catholic ever became king Protestants would find themselves subject to its provisions.209 However, Sandys’s main purpose in staying behind was to complete some of the outstanding business of the grand committee for trade, and in particular to press home his attack on Spanish tobacco. On 10 Apr. he reported to the committee from a five-man sub-committee, which he clearly dominated.210 After repeating his claim that £100,000 was lost annually in purchasing Spanish tobacco, he reported the committee’s recommendation that Spanish imports be replaced with tobacco grown in the English colonies, the quality of which was being ‘daily bettered’. The colonies might then prove as beneficial to England as the West Indies were to Spain, whose king currently added £50,000 p.a. to his customs revenues by tobacco sales to England. Fears that a ban would jeopardize the 1604 peace were dismissed, as Sandys pointed out that Spain herself exercised a protectionist policy in respect of wine imports.211 In order to persuade the rest of the grand committee that the shortage of coin was directly attributable to Spanish tobacco, Sandys produced a couple of expert witnesses, including Edward Bennett, who had recently written a treatise mirroring Sandys’s own arguments.212 Many of Sandys’s colleagues on the committee were clearly sympathetic, as hostility towards Spain was growing, fuelled by anxieties over the Spanish Match. However, considerable concern remained over the impact of any ban on the 1604 treaty. On 13 Apr. Sandys tried again to satisfy the doubters, observing that the king had already prohibited the import of peppers grown in the West Indies without causing a breach with Spain, while the Lords had recently passed a bill prohibiting the export of iron ordnance to Spain. Similarly, Spanish mistreatment of English merchants and the seizure of their goods were in direct violation of the treaty, yet had not led to war.213

When the Commons formally reassembled after Easter, the question of banning Spanish tobacco was debated yet again. On 18 Apr. Sir Edward Coke, who supported a ban, observed that prohibition of any commodity required legislation. Sandys readily agreed, and bolstered by those of his allies in the Virginia Company who also held Commons’ seats, he maintained that such an Act would not violate the 1604 treaty. When this assertion was contradicted by the councillors Sir Richard Weston and Sir Lionel Cranfield, several senior Members rallied to Sandys’s defence. Sir William Strode replied that the treaty was void by the recent death of Philip III, while Sir Dudley Digges thought they should press ahead regardless, for ‘no treaty can be so beneficial to us in England as £100,000 per annum’. Sandys himself was unwilling to go this far, preferring instead to argue that previous prohibitions, of pepper and whale fins, had not caused a rupture. At the end of the debate a motion to ban Spanish tobacco was carried unanimously.214 The way was now open to proceed by bill, and accordingly, on 23 Apr., a measure to restrain ‘the inordinate use of tobacco’ was given a first reading. Two days later one of the members of the syndicate that enjoyed the sole right to import tobacco was ordered to bring in his patent. On 3 May the tobacco bill was entrusted to a committee headed by Sandys and dominated by his fellow Virginia Company members.215 As its chairman, Sandys reported its conclusions on 16 May, when he announced that some minor concessions requested by the patentees had been agreed and that from 1 Oct. only tobacco from the English colonies was to be imported. On this note the bill was ordered to be engrossed.216

While Sandys tried to obtain monopoly rights in all but name for Virginia and Somers Island, he also endeavoured to prevent the New England Company from establishing similar rights over the American fishing grounds. Despite conciliar intervention in December 1620, the Virginia Company’s dispute with Gorges had not been resolved, and on 17 Apr. 1621 a bill granting all English subjects the right to fish off the American coast was given a first reading. This measure, like the tobacco bill, was almost certainly introduced by Sandys who, on 25 Apr., successfully pressed for a second reading. During the ensuing debate he argued that the American fishing grounds, worth £100,000 p.a., were too valuable to become the exclusive preserve of one Company.217 When secretary of state Sir George Calvert tried to scupper the bill by observing that Parliament’s authority did not extend to America, Sandys retorted that Virginia was held of the king’s manor of East Greenwich, ‘and so may be bound by the Parliament’.218 It was undoubtedly Sandys who subsequently steered the bill through committee, as his name headed the committee’s list of members, but it was Sir Walter Earle who reported it to the House on 24 May, when Sandys continued to speak robustly in its defence.219

Virginia Company interests clearly informed much of Sandys’s parliamentary activity in 1621, and had the Company succeeded in obtaining a new charter Sandys would also have laid a bill before Parliament to confirm the grant.220 However, Virginia was not Sandys’s sole preoccupation. In April Sandys’s ‘ancientest friend’ and university acquaintance, the ecclesiastical judge and Commons’ Member Sir John Bennet, was accused of accepting bribes. Although Sandys did not defend Bennet he tried to have him suspended rather than expelled (20 Apr.), and when it was suggested that the judge be sent to the Tower to prevent him escaping like Mompesson, Sandys argued for house arrest instead, pointing out that if Bennet had been planning to abscond he would have done so by now (23 April).221 On 1 May Sandys also argued for humane treatment of the Catholic barrister Edward Floyd, who had disparaged the king’s daughter and her husband, the king and queen of Bohemia. Although he had no sympathy for Floyd, Sandys was disconcerted by the barbaric and illegal punishments proposed by some of his colleagues, and reminded them that Floyd was a gentleman and could not be flogged unless he were first degraded. He was equally concerned that Floyd should not be turned into a Catholic martyr. Indeed, when it was suggested the trinkets of his religion be hung around his neck, Sandys observed that it would then be said that ‘he suffers for his religion, and then we cannot more honour him’. The best course of action, he concluded, would be to place him in the stocks, keep him in prison and fine him.222

Although Sandys did not share his colleagues’ taste for cruel punishments, he realized that they were not deliberately seeking to usurp the authority of the Upper House, which claimed the sole right to punish Floyd. Many lawyer-Members argued that they were perfectly entitled to punish Floyd, even though he was not a Member of the Commons. Sandys himself was not impervious to these arguments, for on 5 May he claimed that the House’s right to punish anyone who offended against its own Members was applicable in this case, as the king was ‘as resident with us as any Member’.223 However, in general he played down the Commons’ authority and attempted to mollify the Lords. On 2 May he announced that ‘if we have erred, it is error amoris’, and three days later he explained that the Commons, out of loyal zeal, had acted hastily and ‘without any thought to invade your lordships’ privileges’.224 However, his attempts to smooth over the dispute were undermined by the ineptitude of his colleagues, who failed to make adequate preparations when they conferred with the Lords on 7 May. The following day an exasperated Sandys complained that the conference had been a ‘mere confusion’, and he added that it was ‘not the Lords’ fault’ that the Commons’ intentions had been misinterpreted.225

Unlike some of his more hot-headed colleagues, Sandys clearly understood that the quarrel over Floyd had the potential to create a serious rift between the two Houses. Indeed, he grew alarmed that every time the Commons tried to justify its behaviour it inflamed the situation further. As he put it, ‘question engenders question and so ends in strife’.226 There was a real danger that unless the quarrel was resolved speedily the Parliament would fail, an outcome that could only benefit England’s enemies abroad. Although foreign policy was not yet to the fore in the Commons, Sandys was by now deeply concerned at the fate of Bohemia and the Palatinate, having recently been in contact with the king of Bohemia’s ambassador, Baron von Dohna. He was no less worried by the military activity in France directed against the Huguenots of La Rochelle, and on 14 May, under the pretence of presenting two petitions on behalf of the inhabitants of the Cinque Ports, he drew attention to the danger in which the Huguenots now lay in a speech described by one listener as excellent. Unless greater care was taken to defend the Cinque Ports, he argued, England’s Protestants might find themselves reduced ‘to the same terms’ as the Huguenots.227 For Sandys it was clear that the dangers faced by international Protestantism required Parliament to remain united rather than divided: ‘we cannot be ignorant of the unity talked of in all this country and in Christendom between the houses and us and the king’, he observed on 7 May. ‘God forbid there should be any breach between us’.228

If Sandys was concerned at the deteriorating relationship between the Commons and the Lords, the king was also alarmed that the previously harmonious relationship he had enjoyed with the Lower House was coming to an end. When the Commons attempted to attack lord treasurer Mandeville (Sir Henry Montagu), he decided to act. On 28 May the Commons was informed that, owing to the hot weather and the fact that the parliamentary sitting had already disrupted local government and the law courts for long enough, Parliament would rise on 4 June. Like many of his colleagues, Sandys greeted this news with a mixture of despair and resignation. ‘The hope deferred’, he announced, ‘is the fainting of the heart’, but since it was the king’s wish to adjourn they should spend the remaining few days concentrating on those bills nearest completion, and decide ‘how we may quiet our country by some satisfaction that may be to His Majesty’s honour and the good of the kingdom’.229 However, over lunch Sandys and many other Members began to worry about returning to their constituents with little to show for their long sitting, and were anxious that Parliament, once adjourned, would not meet again. Consequently, by the time the House reassembled that afternoon the mood had changed. Alford suggested asking the king to extend their sitting ‘so we may perfect somewhat’, while Sir Edward Montagu proposed enlisting the support of the Lords. Sandys seconded these motions, and advised that they request the sitting to be continued until 20 June, ‘notwithstanding the weather’. Although this would mean continued disruption to the law courts, ‘in this term there is little business to be dispatched’.230

The following afternoon (29 May), however, the Commons learned that James was immoveable. Amid scenes of despair, a distraught Sandys declared that while ‘passions are ill counsellors’ he would ‘rather speak now than betray my country with silence’. He announced that he had never been more afraid than now, as ‘all things in the country are out of frame’; poverty was widespread, and what trade existed was in the hands of a few corrupt monopolists. Meanwhile, true religion was rooted out abroad while nothing was done to strengthen the country’s defences. He suggested that the House should rise and not answer to the Lords concerning the remaining business to be handled until the following morning. Despite the pleas of the councillors present, who wanted an answer sent immediately, the Commons accordingly ‘rose in a great passion and confusion’.231

Few Members had hitherto worked harder to preserve harmony between the king and both Houses than Sandys, but events on the afternoon of 29 May fuelled the suspicion in Whitehall that he was attempting to wreck the Parliament. The main exponent of this view was the king’s chief minister in the Commons, the master of the Wards, Sir Lionel Cranfield, who had clashed with Sandys as early as 8 May. Cranfield had complained that he had been accused of asserting that the Commons was not a court of record, whereupon Sandys identified himself as the culprit, and defended himself by saying that ‘I spake as an honest man’.232 Apart from harbouring a grievance against Sandys for this affront, Cranfield frowned upon the close links between Sandys and the earl of Southampton, one of Buckingham’s leading opponents in the Lords. Certainly the alliance between Sandys and Southampton in Virginia Company matters extended to parliamentary business. After the adjournment, Cranfield accused Southampton of consorting with those peers and Members of the Commons who were most ‘stirring and active to cross the general proceedings and to asperse and infame the present government’. Indeed, ‘scarce one speech concerning any public grievance ... was uttered in Parliament by any other man than some bosom friend, or ordinary guest at the least, of the said earl’. Although Sandys was not mentioned by name, later events were to show that Cranfield’s suspicions centred upon him. When the House reassembled on 30 May, Cranfield launched a thinly veiled attack on Sandys, declaring that ‘I think many wise men in the House know how and by whom we are now interrupted and diverted’.233 However, Sandys remained silent except to second Alford, who wished to know why the Lords had asked for a conference.234

Cranfield’s suspicions were increased on 31 May, when the House debated whether to complete any of its legislative business ahead of the adjournment. Sandys, who had previously wanted to finish some bills, now argued that to do so would bring dishonour upon the king, as it would breed a rumour that James had forbidden more to pass. Furthermore, he claimed that the House would lose face if, having sat so long, it completed only a handful of measures. Besides, where was the point in passing bills on minor matters when the most pressing questions - the chronic shortage of coin and the safety of the kingdom - remained to be addressed? Unless the bills regarding arms, recusants and monopolies were passed, it would be better to leave all outstanding legislation to the next sitting, always assuming that Parliament did reassemble, as this ‘may be the last time of asking’. Instead, the Commons should direct its energies into framing a Remonstrance demonstrating to James the parlous state of his kingdom. Cranfield was not surprisingly incensed at this volte face, and retorted that the king ‘can apprehend quickly when he is abused’. Sandys was ‘mistaken, for it cannot be (as he saieth) for the honour of the king that we shall refuse to pass any bills, whenas His Majesty, at our request, hath yielded to pass bills’. Nor could it be good for the House’s reputation to change its mind after it had sought permission to pass some bills.235 As for Sandys’s scorn towards the measures on offer, he pointed out that these included the informers’ bill, which is ‘as good as a pardon’.236 It was now Sandys’s turn to be angry. After Sir Edward Cecil accused the master of the Wards of deliberately misleading the king regarding decisions taken by the Commons, Sandys rebuked Cranfield for ‘too much quickness in reproving’. Far from trying to thwart the king’s wishes, he declared, he had actually taken his cue from secretary of state Calvert, who had said that James wanted no bills to pass. He then cut Cranfield down to size: ‘let every man that comes in here lay down his greatness at the door’.237

During the course of these furious exchanges Sandys revealed that Cranfield had taken offence at his speech of 29 May and accused him of slandering the Privy Council. He therefore asked ‘that he might not be questioned after the Parliament, as his brother was threatened to be’.238 The Commons was so alarmed at these revelations that on 2 June Sandys was allowed to justify the speech he had made on 29 May.239 Sandys began by refusing to apologize for saying that monopolies were maintained by corruption, although he admitted having spoken ‘suddenly and with passion’. Instead, he assured his listeners that they would hear the evidence behind this claim at their next sitting. Nor did he consider that he had spoken amiss in saying that ‘the whole kingdom was out of frame’. This remark had been directed at the state of trade rather than the government of the realm. Indeed, he had praised the judges for their probity on 28 Apr., ‘which showeth the wise and provident care of His Majesty in the government of the kingdom’.240 After he had finished, Sandys was unanimously cleared in a House described as being ‘very full’. Cranfield and his fellow councilors, however, were conspicuous by their absence.241

Sandys may have hoped that this marked the end of his quarrel with Cranfield, particularly as the Commons adjourned on an unexpectedly happy note. Certainly he now turned his attention to preparations for the next sitting. On 13 June he was ordered to help draft a bill after he reported to the Virginia Company the enthusiasm which greeted his suggestion six weeks earlier in the Commons that the kingdom’s poor be sent to Virginia.242 However, on 15 June the king ordered the arrest of Southampton, and soon Sandys too was in custody, committed to the care of one of the sheriffs of London.243 News of the arrests spread quickly. The Venetian ambassador supposed that they were motivated by revenge for the earlier imprisonment by the House of Lords of Buckingham’s ally, the earl of Arundel.244 There may have been some truth in this, but on 25 June Secretary Calvert, a much better source, wrote that the detentions had occurred because there was strong evidence that ‘during the time of the Parliament’ Southampton and Sandys had been ‘too busy and industrious to trouble His Majesty’s service both at home and abroad’.245 The questions put to both men during their interrogations certainly bear out this assertion. Southampton was accused of holding regular meetings in the Lords’ committee chamber with friendly Members of the Commons, to whom he was said to have issued instructions, while Sandys was required to explain ‘what conference he had, and with which of the Lords, at any time’, in the same place. Both were also suspected of conspiring to prevent the king from adjourning the Parliament on 4 June, and of conferring with Baron von Dohna with the aim of getting subsidies paid directly to the king and queen of Bohemia. Indeed, their ally William, Lord Cavendish* later stated that ‘their forwardness in the queen of Bohemia’s cause’ was the reason for their imprisonment. One mystery the government attempted to fathom was why Sandys had changed his mind over lunch on 28 May. Consequently he was asked where he had dined that day. Sandys’s answers have not survived, but Southampton certainly denied all the charges against him, although he admitted holding regular meetings with Members of the Lower House, ‘as everyone else did’.246

During his confinement Sandys’s London house was searched. A letter between him and the Brownist Thomas Brewer was discovered, as was a half-finished treatise by him on the power of God containing references to the rights and powers of earthly rulers. How Sandys explained away this now vanished treatise is unknown, but the letter probably related to his negotiations with the English separatists at Leiden over their planned resettlement in Virginia.247 He was not released until 20 July, when he was ordered to return to Northbourne and stay there.248 Over the autumn the government considered whether to send him to Ireland as one of the commissioners to investigate the charges against lord deputy Falkland (Sir Henry Carey I*) in order to remove him before Parliament resumed in November. 249 Their pretext was that Sandys had the previous April expressed concern in the Commons at the parlous condition of Ireland, which he had blamed on its chief officers.250 In the event he was allowed to remain in England, and on 6 Nov. the order restricting him to the area around Northbourne was lifted.251 However, he remained housebound for the next month.

When the Commons reassembled on 20 Nov. many of its Members, unaware that Sandys was no longer confined, were determined to discover the cause of his imprisonment. The following day the Speaker, Sir Thomas Richardson, produced a letter from Sandys explaining that his absence was due to illness. In the short term this quieted the unrest in the Commons, but on 23 Nov. the issue of Sandys’s earlier imprisonment was raised, whereupon Secretary Calvert assured the House that Sir Edwin had not been committed for anything said or done in Parliament. This was patently untrue, and on 1 Dec. the House resolved to dispatch two of its Members, Sir Peter Heyman and William Mallory, to learn from Sandys the cause of his earlier imprisonment. Mallory subsequently interviewed Sandys ‘by the fireside at ten of clock at night’, and had him set down the reasons for his arrest, but although he brought this paper back to the Commons the House ordered that it be burned (19 December). Sandys evidently travelled to London sometime after 3 Dec., when he wrote that he would soon let his friends know in person that his absence ‘hath been just and necessary’.252 He may even have resumed his Commons’ seat, for on 22 Dec. Chamberlain reported that he and his brother Sir Samuel had remained silent during the session’s final debates.253

IX. Alliance with Buckingham and the Collapse of the Virginia Company

Following the end of the Parliament, Sandys resumed his duties in the Virginia Company, which remained under the nominal control of Southampton, who had been re-elected as treasurer in May 1621. However, the continuing animosity of the king resurfaced at the Company’s leadership election on 22 May 1622, when James again tried to prevent either Southampton or Sandys from being chosen. Despite his intervention Southampton was elected for a third term.254 Sandys, who remained an auditor, continued to wield real power, and in June was approached by Cranfield, who offered the Virginia and Somers Island Companies the contract for the tobacco monopoly in return for an annual payment of £20,000. The exclusive right to import tobacco had been one of Sandys’s prime objectives in the 1621 Parliament, but he was initially wary of the offer, concluding that the king would reap the benefit. Nevertheless, he communicated the terms proposed by Cranfield to the Virginia Company.255

Cranfield’s offer marked the beginning of a thaw in the relations between Sandys and the Jacobean regime that continued into the summer. In mid-July Sandys entered Buckingham’s circle after his wife’s nephew, Richard Bulkeley*, married Buckingham’s cousin, Dorothy Hill. How far Sandys himself paved the way for this alliance is unknown, but in April 1622 he was in contact with Buckingham’s client, Sir Robert Killigrew*.256 The first manifestation of the new relationship came in late September 1622, when the Council, evidently at the suggestion of Cranfield, now lord treasurer and earl of Middlesex, appointed Sandys to the commission for exacted fees.257 Although he was only accorded the role of an assistant, it was clear that Sandys might easily dominate the commission. Indeed, in October a fearful lord keeper Williams asked to be exempted ‘from the command of Sir Edwin Sandys’.258 However, although Sandys evidently hurried up to London, the commission was not finally issued until March 1623, and when the commissioners appointed their assistants in the following May, Sandys was not among them.259

By the time the commission became active, Sandys was once again mired in difficulties. In November 1622 the Virginia Company had finally agreed to undertake the tobacco contract, which specified that administration of the monopoly be vested in the hands of officers selected by the shareholders. Sandys was appointed director, while his close ally, John Ferrar, was named as treasurer. Salaries for the officers amounting to £2,500 were also ratified. However, these financial arrangements provoked uproar among the Warwick and Smythe factions, who thought that Sandys and his acolytes were trying to reap all the benefits of the contract themselves. In February 1623 they appealed to the king, who ordered that the contract be suspended, and at the end of March it was abandoned. Sandys and his followers had been dealt an enormous blow, but worse was to follow: in April the king was persuaded to investigate the Company’s affairs after Nathaniel Boteler, an ally of Warwick’s, described from his own recent observations the parlous condition of the Virginia colony. Although the Company’s officers prepared a detailed rebuttal of Boteler’s charges, a commission of inquiry, packed with the allies of Smythe and Warwick, was formally established on 9 May.260 Sandys and his supporters were incensed, and prepared a lengthy denunciation of Warwick, accusing him in heated terms of conspiring against them. When Warwick complained to the Council, Sandys and his associates were confined to their houses.261 One week later the king ordered the Somers Island Company, which was not under investigation, to refrain from electing Sandys or any of his fellow ‘delinquents’ as officers of the Company.262 The next day, 21 May, Sandys was released, but he was commanded to leave London by the earl of Middlesex, who claimed that his continued presence was unnecessary;263 he was not permitted to return until mid-June.264 Not long after, the complaints against the management of the Virginia Company were upheld, the annual election of its officers was suspended and the Crown’s lawyers reported that its charter was flawed and could be revoked.265

Sandys’s long battle to manage the Virginia Company successfully was now finally lost, and by the end of the year it looked as though his parliamentary career, too, was on the verge of ruin. The king resolved to summon a new Parliament, but only on condition that Sandys and Sir Edward Coke* were first packed off to Ireland.266 Consequently, on 29 Dec. Sandys was appointed to the Irish commission. Sandys, however, had no intention of going if he could avoid it, especially as his alliance with Buckingham, now a duke, meant that he had powerful friends at Court, and at the beginning of January he fired off a series of excuses. In one he claimed that he was recovering from a life-threatening illness, and in another that he remained so ill that he would be unable to travel before the spring, if at all.267 Meanwhile, his supporters in Kent rallied around, and on 12 Jan. they secured his election as junior knight of the shire for Kent. In the process they defeated Sir Dudley Digges, with whom Sandys had quarrelled in May 1614, denouncing him as a ‘royalist’, suggesting that many of them were unaware that Sandys himself was now allied to Buckingham. Sandys, who wisely chose not to travel to the hustings, was clearly elated, and sent a detailed if partial account of events to his friend John Ferrar.268 Behind the scenes he also promised to behave if he were allowed to take his seat, and by the end of the month James, who was warned that relations with the Commons would be poisoned from the outset if he barred some of its most senior Members from sitting, had been won round.269

X. The Parliament of 1624

Shortly after the Parliament opened, Sandys was appointed chairman of the committee for trade.270 He thereby recovered the headship of one of the House’s grand committees, which he had lost in 1621. All trace of sickness had now curiously vanished, and he threw himself into his new role with his accustomed energy and enthusiasm. The task before the committee was immense, for as Sandys himself declared on 5 May, ‘trade is now in as great [a] distemper as ever it was and if there be not some remedy applied it will be utterly destroyed’.271 Under his leadership the Commons pursued a free-trade agenda, and several London companies, among them the Merchant Adventurers, were compelled to open their books and explain their behaviour.272

The main focus of the Parliament, however, was the continuing marriage negotiations with Spain. One of the principal obstacles to breaking off these negotiations was the opposition of lord treasurer Middlesex. As recently as June 1623 Sandys had regarded Middlesex as an ally. However, he had since learned that Middlesex, perhaps the main cause of his imprisonment in the summer of 1621, had sent him away in May 1623 to make it easier for the commission appointed to inquire into the state of Virginia to find against him and his fellow Company officers. Sandys was naturally incensed, and on 26 Apr. 1624 he and his followers in the embattled Company petitioned the Commons, accusing Middlesex of having abused his authority by siding with the Warwick and Smythe factions.273 Nine days later he helped to explain the background of the case, and in so doing placed ‘the great load upon my lord treasurer’.274

The Virginia Company’s grievance was, in itself, unlikely to bring down Middlesex, and therefore Sandys must have been delighted that his patron, Buckingham, also wished to destroy the lord treasurer. However, when on 5 Apr. Middlesex was charged with corruption Sandys tried to appear even-handed, reminding the House that it was an ancient rule that a man was innocent until proven guilty.275 He was equally unwilling to have Middlesex accused of offences which he had not committed. Thus when William Noye alleged on 12 Apr. that Middlesex had laid a new impost on wines in order to line his own pockets, Sandys replied that, though these duties were grievous, the lord treasurer had not had his own private ends in mind.276 Clearly, Sandys was determined not to be seen as pursuing a private vendetta, and when he presented the Commons’ charges to the Lords on 16 Apr. he declared that he was ‘undesirous of any such employment’, that he would ‘rather defend the innocent than discover the culpable’, and that he would ‘willingly suppress what follows’.277 Nevertheless, his position as chairman of the committee for trade meant that he inevitably took a leading part in the attack on Middlesex, as some of the main complaints against the lord treasurer included the introduction of the wine impost and the levy of pretermitted customs. 278

Sandys felt no qualms about advising the king to break off the Spanish marriage negotiations, an objective also pursued by his patron, Buckingham, and from the outset he played a major part in the debates. On 1 Mar. he declared that treaties were ‘the Spaniards’ own game, at which we have played too long’, that they should ‘thank God’ for having raised up Prince Charles and Buckingham ‘to such a great light’, and also list their reasons for breaking off the negotiations.279 Shortly after he spoke the House resolved itself into a grand committee to discuss the matter more freely, with Sandys in the chair.280 He was subsequently appointed to help draft the House’s list of reasons, and reported back the next morning, when he was ordered to help manage that afternoon’s conference with the Lords. At this meeting he fulminated against Spain, whose attempts to secure liberty of worship for English Catholics could only lead to ‘rebellion’, and whose efforts to convert the prince were ‘contrary to all laws of hospitality and civility’.281 Two days later he was ordered to help expand the list of reasons for ending the negotiations after he observed that the toleration demanded by Spain should not be likened to the freedom of worship granted to the French Huguenots as, unlike England’s papists, the Huguenots did not owe their allegiance to a foreign prince.282 On 4 Mar. Sandys presented the Lords with the Commons’ reasons for breaking off the negotiations, which he ‘amplified ... in a very able speech’.283

Sandys was now riding high, but he was brought down to earth the next day when he reported the meeting with the Lords. At this conference his ally Southampton had pointed out that the king would almost certainly demand to know what assistance the Commons would provide in the event of war with Spain. Southampton and Pembroke had therefore penned a note, which Sandys now brandished, stating that the Commons would be ready to give both their lives and fortunes. Sandys evidently expected his colleagues to be pleased, especially as the note echoed the wording of the Commons’ own Protestation of June 1621, but Alford, aghast that the Lords had employed Sandys as their messenger, reminded the House that supply was the exclusive preserve of the Commons. He also criticized Sandys for presenting the note without the House’s permission. Mallory was no less appalled, and ‘would have any man that shall at a committee exceed his commission put out of the House’. Not everyone thought that Sandys had acted improperly, however, and eventually it was agreed to drop the subject and return the note.284

Sandys had clearly suffered a humiliating reverse and his reputation was now tarnished. Like Sir Robert Phelips and Sir Dudley Digges, two other senior Members who had reached an accommodation with Buckingham, he was widely thought to be an ‘undertaker’.285 Sandys was no stranger to this suspicion, as he had been one of the Members accused of plotting to manage the House for Salisbury in 1610, but over the coming days he tried hard to shake off his colleagues’ well-founded impression of him by showing greater hesitation in his support for war.286 On 11 Mar. he urged the Commons not to ‘rush into a war’, but to advise the king to demand the restitution of the Palatinate first. Only if Spain refused to comply would war be justified. Even then, James must understand that his subjects’ ability to pay for war would depend on whether their grievances were first addressed.287 Sandys continued to advocate a gradualist approach on 20 Mar., when he proposed that the questions surrounding preparations for war be divided into five separate heads.288 He thereby tried to placate his critics while keeping his hand firmly on the tiller. In the last respect he certainly succeeded, for on 22 Mar. alone he presented no less than four separate reports to the House in connection with its advice to break off the marriage negotiations.289

One consequence of the parliamentary desire for war with Spain was to focus the Commons’ attention on the loyalty of English Catholics. In 1621 Sandys had expressed concern at their growing number, particularly among the gentry, and had recommended that the sons of Catholic gentlemen should be prevented from travelling abroad lest they enter one of the seven foreign seminaries ‘wherein the papists breed up the youth of this kingdom’. He had also advised imposing financial penalties on those who contributed to the maintenance of Catholics studying abroad.290 He remained equally concerned about the perceived Catholic menace in 1624. On 25 Feb. he was chosen to help draft a message to the Lords concerning the banishing of popish priests and the discharging of popish servants,291 while in early April he grappled with the problem of distinguishing papists from Protestants. At present, he remarked, the laws ‘take hold of no papists but such as want wit and have honesty’. The majority of Catholics ‘hide their religion and are most dangerous’, and therefore he suggested (2 Apr.) that the Commons should ‘set down some more certainty for the describing of a papist’.292 In the meantime, he was certain that the number of convicted recusants would rise if the problem of connivance could somehow be removed (6 April).293

Though he remained one of the most dominant figures in the Commons, Sandys, like Phelips, proved remarkably reluctant to discuss the king’s right to levy impositions.294 Indeed, on 1 Apr. he warned the Commons not to ‘meddle with those [things] which, being taken away, would give any great diminution to His Majesty’s revenue’.295 Instead, he attempted to divert attention away from royal impositions to the growing number of imposts and tolls laid by corporate towns, ‘to the prejudice of those that came to markets’.296 At his suggestion a bill was drafted to remedy this grievance, which he steered through committee himself.297 This was a far cry from his impassioned speech of 21 May 1614, in which he had associated impositions with tyranny, and it may be that his reticence resulted from his alliance with Buckingham. On the other hand, it is equally possible that he realized that it would be pointless to vote the king war funds if at the same time his ordinary income was diminished.

Sandys naturally took an interest in the charges against Dr. Anyan, president of his old Oxford college, Corpus Christi, whom he described as ‘a notorious and incorrigible offender’ (20 May).298 As a former keeper of York House, Sandys was also well placed to comment on this residence’s unprofitability prior to its occupation by Buckingham (28 May).299 He almost certainly took a close interest in the bill concerning the lands of his former son-in-law, Sir Edward Engham, which was passed by the Commons on 5 May.300 Although not named to the committee for the bill submitted by his mother-in-law, Lady Mary Bulkeley, who sought to wrest her family’s Anglesey freehold from her grandson Richard Bulkeley, Sandys later helped mediate an end to the dispute.301 On 19 May he expressed concern that the session would end before the Commons had completed its business, and was therefore sent to the Lords to request a week’s extension, but he reported back that the Lords were not hopeful.302 Not surprisingly, he had little patience when Sir Henry Poole chose this moment to raise the Commons’ right to judicature.303 In the event the extension was granted, and Sandys remained at Westminster until at least 28 May, when he successfully recommended the passage of a bill to make Middlesex’s lands liable for his debts and reported the substance of the complaints against him.304

In the dying days of the session the Virginia Company was effectively dissolved,305 and Sandys retired to his Kent estate, where he grappled with the problem of his own mounting debts.306 Although he enjoyed an annual income of around £1,400, of which £1,000 was derived from Northbourne and £400 from his Yorkshire properties, he had borrowed heavily.307 For some time he had been converting the old monastic house at Northbourne into ‘one of the first Italianate villas in England’, a project which must have been extremely costly.308 He had also invested in colonial ventures, sinking £1,500 into the East India Company and about £1,000 into Virginia, but the latter sum had been entirely lost.309

XI. The Parliament of 1625 and 1626

Following the death of James I, Sandys was summoned to London. Although now in his mid-sixties, there were rumours that he would soon be made secretary of state.310 In the event, he was only named to the commission for trade (19 May 1625) - belated recognition, perhaps, of his expertise in this field. The accession of Charles I nevertheless saw an immediate improvement in Sandys’s local standing. Within two weeks of James’s death he was a Kent magistrate, and by the end of April he had also become a sewer commissioner.

When a fresh Parliament was summoned at the beginning of April 1625, Sandys sought re-election as knight of the shire for Kent. He immediately forged an electoral alliance with Edward Scott of Smeeth, the son of the man whom he had partnered in the 1614 Kent election. However, it is unclear whether he was fully supported by his patron, Buckingham, for although the duke wrote for a seat at Sandwich for Sandys’s eldest son, Henry*, Buckingham was obliged to support secretary of state Sir Albertus Morton* for one of the county seats, and may not have wished to oppose Lord Burghersh (Mildmay Fane*), eldest son of the earl of Westmorland (Sir Francis Fane*), for the other. Despite Buckingham’s ambivalence, Sandys clearly expected to win, and was incensed when, on the day of the election (2 May), the sheriff abandoned the poll and declared Morton and Burghersh elected. As his harangues were ignored, Sandys had himself sworn a freeman of nearby Maidstone the next day in the hope of being returned there instead. It is not certain that he stood at the borough election on 7 May, however, as on 4 May Buckingham’s client, Sir Robert Killigrew, returned him for the Cornish town of Penryn, which he had never even visited.311

Although Parliament opened on 18 June, Sandys was not mentioned in its records until 23 June, perhaps indicating that he delayed his arrival for fear of the plague, which was then rife. As the Commons did not appoint any standing grand committees in 1625, Sandys was unable to assume his customary role as a permanent chairman, though he seems to have chaired ad hoc grand committees, whose deliberations he reported to the House. In early July, for instance, he relayed the proceedings of the grand committee regarding the Council of War and the treasurers for the 1624 subsidies.312 As one of the House’s most experienced Members, his drafting skills were frequently in demand. His help was required on 30 June with the preamble to the subsidy bill, and on 6 July with the introduction to the Tunnage and Poundage bill.313 Throughout most of 27 June and for part of the next day, he and Pym compiled a series of articles for inclusion in a petition to the king concerning religion. These were approved, and on 28 June he was one of five Members instructed to draft the petition. However, it seems likely that this petition was his handiwork alone, for as Rabb has observed, it was arranged in Sandys’s distinctive style as a complex series of numbered points.314

It has been suggested that Sandys was abnormally quiet during the 1625 Parliament,315 but when not chairing committees and drafting important documents he was making speeches. To some extent he revisited issues that had vexed him previously. In June, for instance, the merchants trading to France repeated their complaint against the wine impost, whose levy had figured so prominently in the charges laid against lord treasurer Middlesex in 1624. Sandys, who evidently chaired the select committee appointed to consider the complaint, delivered a report to the House on 1 July that mainly gave an account of the Commons’ proceedings in 1624.316 Another subject revisited by Sandys was the danger from English Catholics, and, perhaps not surprisingly, he dusted down his old speeches. On 23 and 25 June he repeated part of a speech he had given in May 1624 claiming that the number of Jesuits and priests in England had more than doubled since the end of Elizabeth’s reign.317 On 24 June he echoed an observation he had made on 4 Mar. 1624, saying that the Huguenots ‘have no dependence upon any foreign state’, unlike England’s Catholics who looked to Spain and Rome.318 It was at his suggestion that the House decided to proceed ‘by way of article’.

Sandys supported the decision to vote two subsidies, but regarded the amount as inadequate, ‘considering how much we owe His Majesty’. However, since he anticipated that there would be another session soon, he thought that two subsidies would suffice ‘for the time’ (30 June).319 On 24 June he was named to the committee to consider Richard Montagu’s recently published book, Appello Caesarem, the anti-Calvinist views of which had caused widespread offence. Many considered Montagu guilty of contempt, for having been attacked by Parliament in 1624 for publishing his Arminian opinions he had written again in the same vein. Sandys, who had long ago described the central Calvinist doctrine of predestination as ‘speculative’, dared not openly defend Montagu’s views, and therefore on 7 July he cautiously declared Montagu guilty of error rather than contempt. However, his opinion was not shared by most of his colleagues, who committed Montagu to the serjeant-at-arms.320

Sandys remained at Westminster until at least 9 July, when he supported moves to draft a bill permitting the removal of London’s prisoners from the capital to avoid the plague.321 He returned to Northbourne, and though Parliament reconvened at Oxford in early August he was too frightened of the plague himself to attend.322 When a fresh Parliament was summoned in January 1626, Sandys again sought to be returned for Kent, but Edward Scott, his partner in 1625, refused to be associated with him, as did Scott’s cousin, Thomas Scott of Canterbury. The latter observed that he and Edward would have ‘stood as stiffly’ for Sandys as they had before ‘if he had not at the Parliament deserted and even betrayed us and our freehold contrary to his own engagement and writing’.323 Since both Edward and Thomas Scott were puritans, it seems likely that their anger resulted from Sandys’s support for Richard Montagu in 1625. The hostility expressed by the Scotts seems to have been widespread, as Sir Dudley Digges gleefully noted Sandys’s general loss of reputation.324 All hope therefore rested on Sandys’s patron, Buckingham, whose principal agent in Kent, Sir John Hippisley*, was active on Sandys’s behalf. On 8 Jan. Hippisley advised Buckingham to send his letters to ‘all those of the Navy’ instructing them to turn out the following day for Sandys, but his dispatch did not reach the duke until after the election, which Sandys lost.325 Sandys was therefore compelled to turn once again to Sir Robert Killigrew for a seat at Penryn.

Sandys did not take his seat in the new assembly for almost three weeks after it opened. Ill health certainly dogged him over the coming months, and twice during the Parliament, in early April and mid-May, he was noted as being absent due to sickness.326 Declining health and old age may explain Sandys’s unusually slight contribution to the Parliament, for he made only a handful of significant speeches and seems never to have chaired a committee, with the possible exception of the committee for the fast, whose report he forwarded to (Sir) John Coke* after the dissolution.327 However, he may have been deliberately marginalized, either for having defended Montagu in 1625 or for his association with Buckingham, whose impeachment was the principal business of the Parliament. There is certainly a stark contrast between the concern shown at his absence from the beginning of the 1621 Parliament and the indifference of his colleagues in 1626.

Sandys never openly aligned himself with Buckingham’s defenders, and there were times when he almost seemed critical of the duke. On 27 Feb., while discussing recent military failures and the supposed misspending of war funds, he allegedly declared that ‘there is a supreme hand which has cost all’, although he also noted that they should ‘not run into the remedy at first without knowing the diseases and causes’.328 On 1 Apr. he defended the Commons’ right ‘to complain of any subject whatsoever that is taxed for public grievances’. His only concern was that the proposed method of proceeding, ‘common fame’, necessarily implied lack of proof.329

When, on 12 June, the House considered its declaration blaming Buckingham for all the hindrances they had endured since the Oxford sitting, Sandys proposed a further clause stating that Members were confident that there would be reform of that ‘great grievance’.330 Certainly, Sandys said nothing to defend Buckingham, or spoke on matters that were at best peripheral. During the debate about Buckingham’s allegedly illegal stay of the St. Peter (1 May), for example, his only contribution was a minor point of procedure.331 Nevertheless, when Kirton proposed on 8 May that Buckingham be sequestered, Sandys replied that, even in Middlesex’s case in 1624 and St. Alban’s in 1621, there had been ‘no desire from the Commons of sequestration’.332

Although Sandys failed to defend Buckingham, he repeatedly tried to persuade the House of the king’s good intentions. When the Commons resolved to draw up a Protestation following the arrests of Eliot and Digges, Sandys advised his colleagues to seek to satisfy Charles, who had ‘proceeded with us sweetly this Parliament’. He reminded them that the king had previously referred to their judgment the cases of Clement Coke and Dr. Samuel Turner, and they should therefore ask Charles to refer the matter to both Houses, ‘before whom the words were spoken’. However, he was ignored, and despite his subsequent absence due to sickness he was ordered to sign the Protestation.333 Sandys again cast Charles’s behaviour in a favourable light when the Commons was informed in writing that Parliament would be dissolved if subsidies were not voted. On 12 June he declared that this message was not unreasonable, because Charles had so laid his military plans that ‘if we break our day, he must break with his engagements’. Moreover, he denied that it contained any threat.334

The king’s pressing financial needs clearly concerned Sandys. On 20 Apr. he declared that the three subsidies and three fifteenths already voted in principle were ‘as much as nothing’ given the scale of the war in Germany, although he conceded it would be difficult to find the additional funds from ‘this small and not very rich island’. Six days later he urged the House to vote a more generous grant, though he admitted that the country was not as wealthy as it had been under Elizabeth owing to the continuing burden of impositions. At the same time it should address the problem posed by the decline in the value of the subsidy, as ‘the more we double the number of subsidies, the more the weight of them is diminished’. Some had suggested increasing the rate per pound each subsidyman was required to pay, but his own solution was to set minimum levels of payment for titled men. Thus a knight, baronet or peer of Ireland should pay a minimum of £20, while an English viscount would pay not less than £50. Those who purchased titles could afford to pay higher taxes.335 However, he went unheeded.

Although Sandys desired a more generous vote of supply, his comments on 20 and 26 Apr. indicate that he had not forgotten the grievances of the country, particularly impositions. Moreover, on 7 June he criticized the Council of War for its failure to pay coat and conduct money out of the 1624 subsidies as required by statute. ‘Where is now the Act or the credit of the Parliament-men’, he declared, ‘if this be not looked to?’336 However, when the Parliament was dissolved soon afterwards it was his own reputation that was in tatters. ‘No man’, declared Sir Simond D’Ewes on 9 July, ‘hath lost more of himself than Sir Edwin Sandys’.337 A rumour that he advised the levying of subsidies without parliamentary approval was almost certainly false, but indicated, as Rabb has observed, ‘how far beyond his own electorate the fear had spread that the old "Commons-man" had betrayed his principles’.338

XII. Ignominious Final Years

Sandys remained a Buckingham client, despite his failure to defend the duke and a rumour that he had been discarded. In September 1626 he was appointed a commissioner for martial law in Kent, and in November he was named one of the county’s commissioners for the Forced Loan. Unlike many of his former Commons’ colleagues, he paid his contribution to the Loan without objection.339 In June 1627 it was rumoured that he would assist in investigating the judge of the Admiralty Court, Sir Henry Marten*, who had quarrelled with Buckingham over prize goods, but in the event a commission of inquiry was never issued.340 When a fresh Parliament was summoned in February 1628, Buckingham wrote to the borough of Sandwich on Sandys’s behalf, but Sir Edwin was defeated and proved unable to find a seat elsewhere.341 He nevertheless resided in London while the Parliament met, attending several meetings of the East India Company, to which he had been elected a full director in July 1627. On 2 July 1628 he and seven others were nominated for the governorship of the Company, but he refused to allow his name to go forward. His last public appearance was at a meeting of the Company on 2 Mar. 1629 - the day on which the Commons finally descended into chaos.342

Sandys was ill by 9 July 1629 and drew up his will on 25 August. By the second half of September he was bedridden. On 16 Oct. his wife reported from Northbourne that he had begun to recover,343 and indeed he subsequently journeyed to his London house. However, he died there sometime before 31 Oct., when his will was proved. Unlamented and evidently forgotten, he was buried on 1 Nov., probably in the nearby church of St. Anne and St. Agnes, whose registers no longer exist. A monument was later erected at Northbourne but never completed.344 Responsibility for executing the will initially fell to Sandys’s widow, Katharine, although seven supervisors were also named, including Sir Robert Naunton*, John Ferrar* and Sandys’s sons-in-law, Richard Spencer* and Sir Thomas Wilsford*. As sole executrix, Katharine was instructed to provide portions of £500 for each of their three daughters and to raise £2,500 to found chairs in metaphysical philosophy at Oxford and Cambridge. These bequests were to be financed out of Sandys’s investments and the profits from his estates.345 However, Sandys’s debts, which in 1638 still stood at around £1,800,346 proved intractable, and the lectureships were never endowed. Following Katharine’s death in 1634, the executorship passed, in accordance with Sandys’s wishes, to Sandys’s eldest surviving son, Henry, who had represented Michell in 1625. Like his mother before him, Henry found it impossible to settle his father’s debts and also provide for his four younger brothers. A portrait, alleged to be that of Sandys, hangs at Graythwaite Hall in Lancashire.347

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Reg. Merchant Taylors’ Sch. comp. C.J. Robinson, 17; Al. Ox.; P.B. Secor, Richard Hooker: Prophet of Anglicanism, 99.
  • 2. REQ 2/421/93.
  • 3. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1541-1857, IV: York Dioc. comp. J.M. Horn and D.M. Smith, 66.
  • 4. Ath. Ox. ii. col. 475; T.K. Rabb, Jacobean Gent.: Sir Edwin Sandys, 1561-1629, p. 15.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 325; HEHL, EL658.
  • 6. E115/34/115; C212/22/24.
  • 7. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 69.
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 449 (misdated).
  • 9. Maidstone Recs. 85.
  • 10. C231/4, f. 184; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Chas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 87.
  • 11. C181/3, f. 157v.
  • 12. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 94.
  • 13. APC, 1626, p. 224.
  • 14. Harl. 6846, f. 37; Rymer, viii. pt. 2, p. 144.
  • 15. Rabb, 18-19.
  • 16. Illustrations of British History ed. E. Lodge, iii. 65; LC2/5, f. 33.
  • 17. Rymer, vii. pt. 4, p. 90; viii. pt. 1, p. 59.
  • 18. Rabb, 330-1, 337; Virg. Co. Recs. ed. S.M. Kingsbury, i. 384-5, 467; ii. 30.
  • 19. Rabb, 340; CSP Col. E.I. 1617-21, pp. 229, 283; 1625-9, pp. 364, 638.
  • 20. A. Brown, Genesis of US, 770; Letters from Bermuda 1615-46 ed. V.A. Ives, 112, 276.
  • 21. M. Prestwich, Cranfield, 144; S.R. Gardiner, Hist. Eng. i. 165.
  • 22. W. Notestein, House of Commons, 1604-10, p. 7. See also the comments of Notestein, Relf and Simpson in CD 1621, ii. 61n.
  • 23. Bowyer Diary, 29, 81; Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, ii. 279; CD 1621, ii. 61; Rabb, 30.
  • 24. Hist. of Bermudaes ed. J.H. Lefroy (Hakluyt Soc. lxv), 120, 240.
  • 25. Rabb, 193. cf. P. Croft’s review of Jacobean Gent. in Albion, xxxi. 642.
  • 26. Ath. Ox. ii. col. 475.
  • 27. Rabb, 10.
  • 28. For rules of Commons’ membership, see SURVEY.
  • 29. Rabb, 16-17. Rabb’s argument on this point is more persuasive than the entry on Sandys in HP Commons, 1558-1603.
  • 30. Corresp. of Dr. Matthew Hutton [ed. J. Raine], (Surtees Soc. xvii), 104.
  • 31. Recs. of English Province of Soc. of Jesus ed. H. Foley, iii. 12-13. Sandys is identified by the writer as ‘Sandys, son of the old man of York, deceased’ and as a ‘fine philosopher’ and ‘no minister’. This clearly describes Edwin rather than one of his brothers.
  • 32. APC, 1595-6, pp. 496-7.
  • 33. SO3/1, unfol., 10 July 1596.
  • 34. Rabb, 19, 22; CD 1621, v. 15.
  • 35. Rabb 37. For the sole report to Cecil known to survive, see N. Tyacke, ‘Sir Edwin Sandys and the Cecils: a Client-patron Relationship’, HR, lxi. 89-91.
  • 36. C. Russell, Causes of the English Civil War, 97.
  • 37. M.L. Schwarz, ‘Lay Anglicanism and the Crisis of the English Church in the Early Seventeenth Cent.’, Albion, xiv. 14.
  • 38. Rabb, 38.
  • 39. HMC Hatfield, xi. 208-9.
  • 40. C66/1523, mm. 16-21; C2/Chas.I/S13/45; Rabb, 47.
  • 41. E134/7&8Chas.I/Hil.8.
  • 42. The original lease is lost, but see Rabb, 51n. For renewals of the lease, see CLRO, Reps. 28, ff. 6, 43v; Bk. of Grants, i. f. 104.
  • 43. Rabb, 51, says that the house was in Aldersgate Street, but the precise location is apparent from details provided by Sandys’s long-running dispute with Northumberland over access to a garden: Remembrancia ed. W.H. and H.C. Overall, 141; CLRO, Reps. 33, f. 50; 42, f. 172; The A to Z of Elizabethan London comp. A. Prockter and R. Taylor (London Top. Soc. cxxii), 9.
  • 44. Virg. Co. Recs. i. 334, 371.
  • 45. Cf. Rabb, 52.
  • 46. CJ, i. 151a-b, 154a, 156b, 157a, 162a, 166b, 169b.
  • 47. The Journal contains two versions of Sandys’s speech, but only one is explicitly credited to him: CJ, i. 178a, 950b-1a. Rabb, 77-8, interprets Sandys’s statement that ‘England sits here representatively only’ to mean that he was urging Members to consult their constituents, but he was clearly referring to the absence of Scottish representation in the House. cf. R. Lockyer, Early Stuarts (1st edn.), 161.
  • 48. Rabb, 80-1; CJ, i. 179b.
  • 49. CJ, i. 952b, 955b.
  • 50. For the speech which follows, see ibid. 186a-b; SP14/7/63.
  • 51. For the list reported by Bacon, see CJ, i. 957a.
  • 52. C. Russell, ‘Jas. VI and I and Rule over Two Kingdoms: an English View’, HR, lxxvi. 160.
  • 53. Rabb, 83; CJ, i. 959b.
  • 54. CJ, i. 194a.
  • 55. Lockyer, 162.
  • 56. PRO31/3/37, f. 112v; Rabb, 79.
  • 57. Russell, ‘Jas. VI and I’, 159.
  • 58. P. Croft, ‘Wardship in the Parl. of 1604’, PH, ii. 40-1; Rabb, 98-9; CJ, i. 151a, 154a, 969b, 976a, 222b, 226a.
  • 59. Rabb, 100-1.
  • 60. Croft, ‘Wardship’, 41, 43-4; CJ, i. 228a, 230a.
  • 61. CJ, i. 183b, 218a, 976b.
  • 62. Ibid. 218a-b.
  • 63. Ibid. 232a.
  • 64. CJ, i. 987b; Rabb, 96.
  • 65. CJ, i. 178a, 965a, 231b, 233b, 247b.
  • 66. Ibid. 156b, 157a, 166b, 169b.
  • 67. Ibid. 207a.
  • 68. Winwood’s Memorials ed. E. Sawyer, ii. 26.
  • 69. Rabb, 39; T.K. Rabb, ‘The Editions of Sir Edwin Sandys’s "Relation of the State of Religion"’, HLQ, xxvi. 323-4, 326.
  • 70. CJ, i. 270a-b, 272b, 273a; Bowyer Diary, 48.
  • 71. Rabb, Sandys, 309; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 214
  • 72. Rabb, ‘Editions’, 334-6.
  • 73. CJ, i. 256b.
  • 74. Ibid. 257b, 288b; Bowyer Diary, 89.
  • 75. Bowyer Diary, 29; CJ, i. 264b.
  • 76. CJ, i. 266b; Bowyer Diary, 70n1, 81.
  • 77. CJ, i. 272a, 273a.
  • 78. Bowyer Diary, 70-2.
  • 79. N. Cuddy, ‘Conflicting Loyalties of a ‘Vulger Counselor’: the third Earl of Southampton, 1597-1624’, in Public Duty and Pvte. Conscience in Seventeenth Cent. Eng. ed. J. Morrill, P. Slack and D. Woolf, 131; E. Lindquist, ‘The King, the People and the House of Commons: the Problem of Early Jacobean Purveyance’, HJ, xxxi. 568.
  • 80. CJ, i. 282b; P. Croft, ‘Parl., Purveyance and the City of London, 1598-1608’, PH, iv. 27l; Linquist, 568.
  • 81. CJ, i. 305a.
  • 82. Ibid. 258a, 265b, 273a, 284a, 286a; Bowyer Diary, 35, 52.
  • 83. CJ, i. 274a, 279a, 291b.
  • 84. Ibid. 304b, 311b.
  • 85. Ibid. 308b.
  • 86. Bowyer Diary, 101.
  • 87. CJ, i. 278b, 282a. cf. Rabb, Sandys, 121.
  • 88. CJ, i. 295a, 300b.
  • 89. Ibid. 265b, 261a, 287b, 292b, 304a; Bowyer Diary, 144.
  • 90. CJ, i. 310a.
  • 91. Ibid. 290a, 292b, 293a; Bowyer Diary, 97.
  • 92. CJ, i. 324b, 329b, 1005a, 1011a; Bowyer Diary, 197.
  • 93. CJ, i. 1014b, 339b-40a, 1020b, 1021a, 345a-b; I. Temple Lib., Barrington ms 19, ff. 674-5. For a more detailed account of his speech, see Rabb, Sandys, 125-6.
  • 94. Bowyer Diary, 218; CJ, i. 1027b.
  • 95. Bowyer Diary, 219-20.
  • 96. Ibid. 235-40; Rabb, Sandys, 127-8.
  • 97. Bowyer Diary, 243-4.
  • 98. CJ, i. 1037a; Bowyer Diary, 274-5, 280.
  • 99. CJ, i. 366b-7a, 368a; Bowyer Diary, 239.
  • 100. CJ, i. 370a, Bowyer Diary, 378.
  • 101. For details, see CJ, i. 376b, 377a, 382a; Bowyer Diary, 309.
  • 102. CJ, i. 325a.
  • 103. Ibid. 344b, 355a, 372a-3a, 374b, 1050b-1a; Bowyer Diary, 330.
  • 104. CJ, i. 374a.
  • 105. Ibid. 378a, 381a-b; Bowyer Diary, 320-1.
  • 106. CJ, i. 385b, 389a, 390b; Bowyer Diary, 365, 367. For a more detailed coverage of Sandys’s activity in the session’s final few months, see Rabb, Sandys, 132-5.
  • 107. Brown, 207, 240; Rabb, Sandys, 320.
  • 108. Cent. Kent. Stud. S/EK/SO2, p. 170.
  • 109. SP14/4/54.I (we are grateful to Helen Payne for this ref.); E115/381/38; 315/414/3, f. 35v; SCL, MD 745 (we are grateful to William Bell, archivist at Sheffield, for summarizing this document, which is in poor condition).
  • 110. Bowyer Diary, 199; Rabb, Sandys, 123.
  • 111. CJ, i. 394a, 397a, 413a, 427a.
  • 112. E.g., ibid. 414a, 416a, 419a, 422a.
  • 113. Ibid. 420b. On 23 July he also proposed that men married to recusants should not be appointed magistrates: ibid. 453b.
  • 114. Ibid. 392a; Rabb, Sandys, 141. Rabb states that Sandys delivered the cttee.’s initial report (14 Feb.), but this was presented by Sir George More, the cttee.’s chairman. Sandys merely followed More’s speech with one of his own ‘answering those points’: cf. CJ, i. 393a; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 1.
  • 115. M.F. Keeler, ‘Cttee. for Privs. 1604-10 and 1614’, PH, xiii. 164-5. Keeler’s argument arises from a misunderstanding of Sandys’s attempt to get the privileges’ cttee. to stop the submission of frivolous or scandalous petitions to the grievances cttee., an issue discussed below.
  • 116. ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 5. For the implication that he was speaking for the privs. cttee., see CJ, i. 417a.
  • 117. CJ, i. 396a, 398a; Procs. 1610, ii. 358.
  • 118. CJ, i. 401, 403b, 404b-5a.
  • 119. Ibid. 411b; Procs. 1610, i. 37-8.
  • 120. CJ, i. 421b, 423b.
  • 121. Ibid. 423b; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 9.
  • 122. Procs. 1610, ii. 109-10.
  • 123. Ibid. 110, 112.
  • 124. CJ, i. 431-2.
  • 125. Ibid. 440a, 441b, 442b, 445a, 447b, 449b, 450a; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 23.
  • 126. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, i. 122-3.
  • 127. CJ, i. 449a, 450b; Procs. 1610, i. 141-2.
  • 128. CJ, i. 451b; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 26.
  • 129. Procs. 1610, i. 154-5, 161; ii. 288.
  • 130. CJ, i. 453a; Procs. 1610, ii. 291-2; ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 26v.
  • 131. CJ, i. 448b.
  • 132. Procs. 1610, i. 160.
  • 133. CJ, i. 421a, 449a, 450a; Procs. 1610, ii. 323. For Thurscross, see Fasti IV: York Dioc. comp. Horn and Smith, 51.
  • 134. CJ, i. 414b, 432a.
  • 135. Rabb, 166-7; Procs. 1610, ii. 320-1.
  • 136. Although Thurscross’s counsel was heard, Sandys’s was not: Procs. 1610, ii. 323-4; Paulet, f. 30. For the proviso, see Procs. 1610, i. 246n.
  • 137. Procs. 1610, ii. 338, 342; HMC Rutland, i. 425.
  • 138. A. Thrush, ‘Personal Rule of Jas. I’, Pols. Religion and Popularity ed. T. Cogswell, R. Cust and P. Lake, 85-6; S.L. Adams, ‘The Protestant Cause’ (Oxford Univ. D.Phil. 1973), p. 232; CSP Ven. 1610-13, pp. 230, 276; HMC Buccleuch, i. 101-2.
  • 139. HMC Downshire, iii. 181, 226.
  • 140. Letters and Life of Francis Bacon ed. J. Spedding, iv. 365, 370.
  • 141. E403/1891, unfol. 22 Feb. 1614. The grant passed the Great Seal on 12 Mar.: see CSP Dom. 1611-8, p. 226; C66/1986/2.
  • 142. Som. RO, DD/PH 224/8.
  • 143. Staffs. RO, D593/S4/60/11-12. For a more detailed discussion, see ROCHESTER.
  • 144. For Pembroke’s alliance with Suffolk, see A. Thrush, ‘The French Marriage and the Origins of the 1614 Parl.’, The Crisis of 1614 and the Addled Parl. ed. S. Clucas and R. Davies. Rabb suggests that Pembroke was persuaded to bestow the seat on Sandys by the earl of Southampton, Sandys’s associate in the Virg. Co: Sandys, 177, n. 11.
  • 145. CJ, i. 457b.
  • 146. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 68-9, 246.
  • 147. Ibid. 205. One diarist records that Sandys opposed a double punishment, even if it were inflicted by the king: ibid. 209. Rabb, Sandys, 186n, convincingly argues that he was mistaken.
  • 148. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 34-5, 85-6, 116, 153-4.
  • 149. Ibid. 167. Although Croft and Alford supported the motion, they had the time shifted to four. On 11 May Croft found that he now agreed with Sandys’s original motion, and it was therefore resolved that the cttee. should meet at 3pm: ibid. 206. For a detailed discussion of the organization of the Commons’ time, see SURVEY, ‘Times of Meetings’.
  • 150. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 167. cf. Rabb, Sandys, 183.
  • 151. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 47, 99, 145, 323.
  • 152. Ibid. 39, 235-6, 243, 389. cf. Rabb, Sandys, 182n, 227n.
  • 153. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 325-6.
  • 154. Ibid. 274, 278.
  • 155. Ibid. 355-6.
  • 156. Ibid. 136-7, 155-6, 167; HMC De L’Isle and Dudley, v. 177.
  • 157. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 151, 158.
  • 158. Ibid. 153-4. For a slightly different reading of this speech, see Rabb, Sandys, 187. For the narrowness of the votes on supply in both 1606 and 1610 see CJ, i. 286a-b, 448b.
  • 159. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 219-20, 223-4.
  • 160. Ibid. 264-5.
  • 161. Ibid. 291.
  • 162. Ibid. 312, 316; Rabb, Sandys, 192-3.
  • 163. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 428, 430-6, 442-4.
  • 164. HMC Portland, ix. 138; APC, 1613-14, pp. 460, 479, 491.
  • 165. For a discussion of the pressures on James to call a Parl. in 1615/16, see Thrush, ‘Personal Rule’, 90-2.
  • 166. Rabb, Sandys, 46.
  • 167. Letters and Life of Francis Bacon, vi. 324.
  • 168. W.F. Craven, Dissolution of the Virg. Co. 94, 96-8, 100-2; CSP Dom. 1619-21, p. 118.
  • 169. Rabb, Sandys, 341.
  • 170. Craven, 106.
  • 171. APC, 1619-20, p. 142.
  • 172. The words are taken from Arthur Wodenoth’s A Short Collection of the most remarkable passages from the Originall to the Dissolution of the Virginia Company (1651). For a discussion of the shortcomings of his account, which was written in the mid-1640s, see Craven, 16-17. For the extracts quoted here, see Rabb, Sandys, 349.
  • 173. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 305-6; Harl. 1581, f. 111 (Christopher Thompson kindly transcribed this letter).
  • 174. Virg. Co. Recs. ii. 294-6.
  • 175. Ibid. 384-5.
  • 176. See Rabb, Sandys, 79n, for a discussion of early links between the two men.
  • 177. Virg. Co. Recs. i. 387, 429, 434.
  • 178. Craven, 140-1.
  • 179. Virg. Co. Recs. i. 411, 416, 428.
  • 180. Sir Ferdinando Gorges and his Province of Maine ed. J.P. Baxter (Prince Soc. xix), 33-4.
  • 181. CD 1621, vii. 567-9.
  • 182. CJ, i. 507b, 510b, 511b, 513a; Nicholas Procs. 1621, i. 15-16; CD 1621, iv. 26.
  • 183. CJ, i. 568b.
  • 184. CD 1621, ii. 53; CJ, i. 517a.
  • 185. Virg. Co. Recs. i. 428, 438, 441, 443. On the renewal of the charter, see E. Rose, ‘The End of the Gamble: the Cancellation of the Virg. Co. Lotteries in March 1621’, unpublished paper.
  • 186. Virg. Co. Recs. i. 411; Craven, 183.
  • 187. CD 1621, ii. 121.
  • 188. Ibid. vi. 7-8; CJ, i. 528b. We are grateful to Emily Rose for valuable discussions on this subject.
  • 189. Craven, 184.
  • 190. CJ, i. 540a.
  • 191. CD 1621, iv. 38.
  • 192. CJ, i. 518a; CD 1621, ii. 60-1. Russell described the speech as ‘remarkable’: C. Russell, PEP, 92-3.
  • 193. CD 1621, ii. 91.
  • 194. Ibid. vi. 253.
  • 195. Ibid. ii. 139; iv. 105; v. 490; vi. 11, 16, 297; CJ, i. 527a-b.
  • 196. Rabb, Sandys, 237.
  • 197. CD 1621, vi. 16.
  • 198. Ibid. v. 15, 528.
  • 199. Rabb, Sandys, 229n; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 170.
  • 200. Virg. Co. Recs. i. 442.
  • 201. CD 1621, iv. 113.
  • 202. CJ, i. 533a-b.
  • 203. CJ, i. 547a; CD 1621, ii. 201; iv. 139.
  • 204. Chamberlain Letters, i. 351.
  • 205. CJ, i. 564a; CD 1621, iv. 173; v. 54.
  • 206. CJ, i. 548b; CD 1621, ii. 204; iv. 142.
  • 207. CJ, i. 550b; CD 1621, iv. 146.
  • 208. CJ, i. 572a-b; CD 1621, iv. 191.
  • 209. CD 1621, ii. 273-4, 285.
  • 210. On the size of the cttee., see CJ, i. 579a.
  • 211. CD 1621, ii. 285-6; iv. 216-17.
  • 212. Ibid. ii. 287; E. Bennett, ‘A treatise divided into three parts, touching the inconveniences, that the Importation of Tobacco out of Spain, hath brought into this land’ (1620?). We are grateful to Emily Rose for drawing our attention to this treatise and to the similarity of its wording to Sandys’s speech of 26 Feb. 1621. As its date of composition is uncertain, it is unclear whether Sandys based his speech on Bennett or Bennett based his treatise on Sandys. On 12 Apr. Sandys proposed that Bennett be granted membership of the Virg. Co. for having frequently attended the Commons’ cttee.: Virg. Co. Recs. i. 446.
  • 213. CD 1621, ii. 293-4.
  • 214. Ibid. 299; iii. 8-9; CJ, i. 581a-2a; Rabb, Sandys, 234.
  • 215. CJ, i. 586b, 591b, 605b.
  • 216. Ibid. 622a; CD 1621, ii. 371-2; iv. 351.
  • 217. CJ, i. 578a, 591b; CD 1621, iii. 81, 320-1; v. 98, 349. One diarist records him as saying the fishing grounds were worth £160,000 p.a.: ibid. iv. 255.
  • 218. CD 1621, iii. 82; ii. 321; v. 99.
  • 219. Ibid. ii. 386; iii. 298; vi. 167; CJ, i. 626a.
  • 220. Virg. Co. Recs. i. 445.
  • 221. CJ, i. 584a, 588a; CD 1621, iii. 31, 58; v. 92, 340-1; Chamberlain Letters, i. 366; Rabb, Sandys, 243.
  • 222. CJ, i. 601b-2a; CD 1621, iii. 127; v. 130, 361.
  • 223. Nicholas, ii. 32.
  • 224. CJ, i. 604a; CD 1621, iii. 138, 183; iv. 313.
  • 225. CJ, i. 613b.
  • 226. CD 1621, iii. 192.
  • 227. CJ, i. 620a-b; CD 1621, iii. 245; iv. 337-8; v. 375; vi. 154. One diarist incorrectly ascribed this speech to Sir Samuel Sandys: ibid. ii. 364.
  • 228. CD 1621, iii. 192; v. 151. For a detailed examination of Sandys’s role in this affair, see Rabb, Sandys, 241-8.
  • 229. CJ, i. 629b-30a; CD 1621, iii. 329; v. 181; vi. 176; Nicholas, ii. 113.
  • 230. CD 1621, iii. 332-3; Nicholas, ii. 115.
  • 231. Nicholas, ii. 122.
  • 232. CD 1621, iii. 206.
  • 233. Ibid. 363.
  • 234. CJ, i. 632a.
  • 235. CD 1621, ii. 142; iii. 374; v. 190.
  • 236. Ibid. ii. 142
  • 237. Ibid. 142-3; iii. 375-6.
  • 238. Ibid. iv. 399.
  • 239. CJ, i. 635b-6a; CD 1621, ii. 421; iii. 390-1; iv. 403, 406; Nicholas, ii. 151-2.
  • 240. For this speech, see CD 1621, iii. 108.
  • 241. CD 1621, v. 392.
  • 242. Virg. Co. Recs. i. 479, 489. For Sandys’s offer to the Commons, see CD 1621, v. 113-14; CJ, i. 596b.
  • 243. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 265. The Venetian ambassador incorrectly dated both arrests to 19 June: CSP Ven. 1621-3, p. 75.
  • 244. CSP Ven. 1621-3, p. 75.
  • 245. Add. 36455, f. 152. We are grateful to Christopher Thompson for this ref.
  • 246. Nicholas, ii. app.; Rabb, Sandys, 261-4. I. Temple Lib., Petyt ms 538/19 differs only in minor details from the interrogatories printed in Nicholas. For Cavendish’s statement, see Procs. 1626, ii. 115.
  • 247. Rabb, Sandys, 211, 33; Colls. of the Mass. Hist. Soc. (ser. 4), iii. 30-3. It is also possible that the letter dealt with Sandys’s purchase of building material from Amsterdam, for which see Magdalene Coll., Camb., Ferrar Pprs., 1 Oct. 1621, Sandys to John Ferrar.
  • 248. APC, 1621-3, p. 23.
  • 249. V. Treadwell, Buckingham and Ire. 173; Diary of Walter Yonge ed. G. Roberts (Cam. Soc. xli.), 45.
  • 250. CJ, i. 598a-b; CD 1621, v. 119-20; Nicholas, i. 358.
  • 251. APC, 1621-3, p. 80.
  • 252. C. Thompson, ‘Reaction of the House of Commons in November and December 1621 to the Confinement of Sir Edwin Sandys’, HJ, xl. 779-86; C. Russell, Unrevolutionary Eng. 84.
  • 253. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 416.
  • 254. Virg. Co. Recs. ii. 28-30.
  • 255. Ibid. 35-8; Craven, 232.
  • 256. Magdalene Coll. Camb., Ferrar Pprs., 9 Apr. 1622, Sandys to John Ferrar.
  • 257. APC, 1621-3, p. 325. For the suggestion that Cranfield lay behind the appointment, see Magdalene Coll. Camb., Ferrar Pprs., 13 Oct. 1622, Sandys to John Ferrar.
  • 258. Cabala Sive Scrinia Sacra, 272.
  • 259. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 515; Bodl. Tanner 101, no. 67.
  • 260. Craven, 236-7, 242-3, 248-50, 254-5, 258-9, 266-7.
  • 261. APC, 1621-3, p. 491; Rabb, Sandys, 374.
  • 262. Letters from Bermuda, 259.
  • 263. APC, 1621-3, p. 498; SP14/146/46, quoted by R. Ruigh, Parl. of 1624, p. 318.
  • 264. Cent. Kent. Stud., U269/1/OE637.
  • 265. Rabb, Sandys, 379-80; Craven, 310-11.
  • 266. BL, Trumbull ms uncatalogued, 26 Dec. 1623, Beaulieu to Trumbull (Tom Cogswell kindly transcribed this letter); CSP Ven. 1623-5, pp. 182-3.
  • 267. CSP Ire. 1615-25, pp. 454, 456; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 146.
  • 268. Rabb, Sandys, 272-3. On Sandys’s quarrel with Digges, see Procs. 1614 (Commons), 393, 398; Chamberlain Letters, i. 536.
  • 269. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 543; CSP Ven. 1623-5, p. 211.
  • 270. ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 25v.
  • 271. Ibid. f. 192v.
  • 272. See LONDON.
  • 273. CJ, i. 691a; ‘Holland 1624’, ii. f. 50r-v; Ruigh, 318.
  • 274. Craven, 319-20.
  • 275. CJ, i. 755b.
  • 276. Ibid. 764a; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 146v.
  • 277. LJ, ii. 309a, 310a.
  • 278. Russell argued that the cttee. for trade was ‘used as a stalking-horse to approach Cranfield’: Russell, PEP, 198.
  • 279. ‘Earle 1624’, f. 37v; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 37.
  • 280. ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 38; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 54.
  • 281. ‘Lowther 1624’, f. 12.
  • 282. CJ, i. 728a; ‘Jervoise 1624’, f. 42; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 49.
  • 283. CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 179.
  • 284. ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 51v; ‘Spring 1624’, pp. 84-8.
  • 285. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 549; T. Cogswell, Blessed Revolution, 185, 191.
  • 286. Russell thought Sandys’s hesitation indicated real reluctance: Russell, PEP, 170, but see Cogswell, 191.
  • 287. CJ, i. 533a; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 69r-v; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 108.
  • 288. CJ, i. 744a; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 96; Cogswell, 211-12.
  • 289. CJ, i. 745a-6b.
  • 290. Ibid. 607a-b; CD 1621, ii. 344; iii. 162, 269; iv. 301-2 .
  • 291. CJ, i. 718b.
  • 292. ‘Pym 1624’, f. 47v.
  • 293. Holles 1624, p. 62.
  • 294. Russell, Unrevolutionary Eng. 53.
  • 295. ‘Pym 1624’, f. 44.
  • 296. CJ, i. 751b; ‘Lowther 1624’, f. 44v; ‘Earle 1624’, ff. 108v-9.
  • 297. CJ, i. 769a, 709a.
  • 298. Ibid. 707b, 713a; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 187; Rabb, Sandys, 299.
  • 299. CJ, i. 705b; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 236.
  • 300. CJ, i. 752a, 754b, 698b; HLRO, O.A. 21 Jas.I, c. 45.
  • 301. CJ, i. 764b, 783a; UCNW, Baron Hill 305. See also BULKELEY RICHARD.
  • 302. CJ, i. 706a; ‘Nicholas 1624’, ff. 209v, 335.
  • 303. ‘Earle 1624’, f. 186v.
  • 304. ‘Nicholas 1624’, ff. 238v, 239v.
  • 305. Craven, 318.
  • 306. Magdalene Coll., Camb., Ferrar Pprs., 15 Feb. 1625, Sandys to John Ferrar.
  • 307. For his income, see C2/Chas.I/S125/29 (cf. Rabb, Sandys, 390). For his borrowing, see Magdalene Coll., Camb., Ferrar Pprs., 15 Feb. 1625, Sandys to John Ferrar.
  • 308. For a discussion of the house’s dimensions and likely cost, see Rabb, Sandys, 50.
  • 309. Ibid. 340.
  • 310. Som. RO, DD/PH219/64; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 613.
  • 311. Canterbury Cathedral Archives, U66, f. 19.
  • 312. Procs. 1625, pp. 284, 323.
  • 313. Ibid. 277, 324.
  • 314. Ibid. 260, 299; Rabb, Sandys, 307.
  • 315. Rabb, Sandys, 306.
  • 316. Procs. 1625, pp. 268, 284-5; Cent. Kent. Stud., U269/1/CB139.
  • 317. Procs. 1625, pp. 232, 246. cf. CD 1621, v. 140; Nicholas, ii. 18.
  • 318. Procs. 1625, p. 240.
  • 319. Ibid. 275.
  • 320. Ibid. 240, 334. Rabb, Sandys, 310, mistakenly claims that the House heeded Sandys.
  • 321. Procs. 1625, p. 364.
  • 322. Magdalene Coll. Camb., Ferrar Pprs., 23 Dec. 1625, Sandys to Nicholas Ferrar. cf. Rabb, Sandys, 312.
  • 323. Dorothea Scott ed. G.D. Scull, 142-3.
  • 324. Ibid. 135.
  • 325. Procs. 1626, iv. 242.
  • 326. Ibid. ii. 431; iii. 263; iv. 318.
  • 327. HMC Cowper, i. 271. Rabb, Sandys, 313n. 22, claims that this report related to Buckingham’s impeachment. For the appointment of the cttee., see Procs. 1626, iii. 98.
  • 328. Procs. 1626, ii. 138, 143.
  • 329. Ibid. 420-1.
  • 330. Ibid. iii. 427.
  • 331. Ibid. 116.
  • 332. Ibid. 192.
  • 333. Ibid. 246, 263, 265.
  • 334. Ibid. 425, 429.
  • 335. Ibid. 33, 75-7.
  • 336. Ibid. 388.
  • 337. Rabb, Sandys, 314n. 24.
  • 338. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 131; Rabb, Sandys, 314.
  • 339. Rabb, Sandys, 315n.
  • 340. Holles Letters ed. P.R. Seddon (Thoroton Rec. Soc. xxxv), ii. 352; R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 368.
  • 341. Procs. 1628, vi. 162.
  • 342. CSP Col. E.I. 1625-9, pp. 502, 524, 528, 632, 638; Rabb, Sandys, 383, 389.
  • 343. Cal. Assize Recs., Kent Indictments, Chas. I, 87; Magdalene Coll., Camb., Ferrar Pprs., 16 Oct. 16[29], Katharine Sandys to John Ferrar.
  • 344. Canterbury Cathedral Archives, U3/74/1/1; C. Vivian, Some Notes for a Hist. of Sandys Fam. 163.
  • 345. PROB 11/156, ff. 196-9.
  • 346. C2/Chas.I/S35/56.
  • 347. For the portrait, see Rabb, Sandys, frontispiece. According to information kindly provided by Rabb, the identification is based on family tradition.