Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Randolph, Edward (1640?-1700?)
RANDOLPH, EDWARD (1632–1703), colonial official, baptised at Canterbury 9 July 1632, was fourth son of Edmund Randolph (1601–1649) of University College, Oxford, who obtained the degree of M.D. at Padua in 1626, and thenceforth practised medicine at Canterbury. Edward's mother was Deborah, fourth daughter of Giles Master of Woodchurch and afterwards of Canterbury. Admitted a student at Gray's Inn, 12 Nov. 1650, he was engaged (1661–6) in providing timber for the royal navy; but debts consumed his property. In 1667 the Duke of Richmond employed him as his agent in Scotland. A relative, Captain John Mason (1586–1635) [q. v.], the proprietor of New Hampshire, may have recommended the English government to choose Randolph for a special appointment in New England in 1676. In March of that year he was sent by the lords of trade and plantation with a letter to the government and council of Massachusetts, and was instructed to obtain full information as to the resources of the New England colonies and the temper and character of the leading men in public life there. The result was an exceedingly full report, tinged throughout by a feeling of great hostility to Massachusetts, due, as it would seem, in part to the discourtesy with which he was received by those in power there. In July 1678 Randolph was appointed collector and surveyor of customs for New England. For the next few years he appears to have been constantly coming and going between Boston and England, and keeping up an unceasing fire of attacks on the leading public men of Massachusetts and on the general policy and character of that colony in memorials and in letters addressed to various persons interested in colonial administration. The persistent representations of Randolph in all likelihood contributed to bring about the abrogation of the charter of Massachusetts. On 21 Sept. 1685 Randolph was made secretary and registrar of the newly created province of New England, and on 23 Nov. postmaster of New England, becoming secretary of that ‘dominion’ 5 July 1688.
When the rebellion against Sir Edmund Andros [q. v.] broke out in 1689, Randolph was arrested by the insurgents and confined in prison. In February 1690, with Andros and the other prisoners, he was sent to England, but, in spite of the representations of the agents for New England, Ashurst and Increase Mather, no proceedings were taken against him. In 1691 Randolph was appointed surveyor-general on behalf of the commissioners of customs in New York, and apparently Maryland and Pennsylvania. In Cotton Mather's ‘Parentator,’ written in 1724, it is stated that Randolph died in Virginia in poverty, He married Jane Gibbon of West Cliff, Kent , by whom he seems to have had two children–Deborah, born at Canterbury in 1661; and Edward, born in May 1663.
Randolph's report on New England and several of his letters are in the second volume of the ‘Hutchinson Papers,’ published by the Prince Society. Other writings of his are in the third volume of the ‘Andros Tracts,’ published by the same society, in the ‘York Documents,’ in the ‘Rhode Island Records,’ and in the ‘Collections’ of the Massachusetts Historical Society. A complete list of these is given in the ‘Andros Tracts’ (iii. 212).Randolph's younger brother, Bernard Randolph (1643–1690?), writer on Greece, born at Canterbury and christened in October 1643 (Reg. Book of St. George's, Canterbury, p. 36), was long engaged in commerce in the Levant. He constantly moved his place of residence, being at one time in Eubœa and at another in Candia or Smyrna. Soon after 1680 he returned to England; but in 1683 he accompanied his brother to Massachusetts. Subsequently he settled in England, and in 1686 published ‘The Present State of the Morea’ (Oxford, 4to; 2nd ed. 1689, London, 4to). In the following year appeared a companion work, ‘The Present State of the Islands of the Archipelago.’ These volumes contain an admirable account of the state of the country about the Ægean sea, and are valuable for the light they throw on the Ottoman empire in the early stages of its decadence. Bernard Randolph died after 1689. [R. N. Toppan's Memoir in Prince Soc.'s Collection of Randolph's Letters and Papers, 1898–9; Berry's County Genealogies (Kent); Cal. State Papers, Col. (America and West Indies), 1674–6; Andros Tracts; Tuttle's Francis Champernoun and other Hist. Papers, Boston, 1889; Hutchinson's Hist. of Massachusetts; Palfrey's Hist. of New England; Brodhead's Hist. of New York; Proc. Massachusetts Hist. Soc., Feb. 1874.]