Edward Randolph (colonial administrator)

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Edward Randolph (1632 - April 1703) was an English colonial administrator, best known for his role in effecting significant changes in the structure of England's North American colonies in the later years of the 17th century. Called "evil genius of New England and her angel of death",[1] his reports to the Lords of Trade (predecessors to the 18th century Board of Trade) convinced King Charles II to revoke the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1684, and he was a leading figure in the unpopular Dominion of New England. Randolph served as secretary of the dominion. While in that position, he argued for tighter Crown control over proprietary and charter colonies whose administrations lacked such oversight, and he was often given the difficult task of enforcing England's Navigation Acts in whichever colony he was posted to, often against significant local popular and political resistance. His actions were a significant contribution to the development of Great Britain's colonial administrative infrastructure, but he remained unpopular in the dominion. During the 1689 Boston revolt, which deposed Andros and overthrew the dominion, he was jailed.

He was born in Kent in 1632, read law at Gray's Inn, and studied at Queens' College, Cambridge, although he apparently did not receive a degree. He died on Virginia's eastern shore in 1703.


  • Hall, Michael Garibaldi (1960). Edward Randolph and the American Colonies. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. OCLC 181784.
  1. ^ Washburn, Emory (1840). Sketches of the Judicial History of Massachusetts. Boston, MA: Little and Brown. Public Domain. p. 121.