Nathaniel Rich (merchant adventurer)

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Sir Nathaniel Rich (1585–1636) was an English merchant adventurer and politician[1] who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1614 and 1629.[2]

Biography[edit]

Nathaniel Rich was (probably elder) son of Richard Rich of Leez Priory, Essex (an illegitimate son of Richard Rich, 1st Baron Rich)[3] and his wife Jane Machell.[4] In 1598 Nathaniel and his sister Margaret (afterwards Dame Margaret Wroth) were with their mother at their father's deathbed at Leez, attended by William Noyes, then 'minister of this place'.[5] Nathaniel matriculated pensioner from Emmanuel College, Cambridge and graduated B.A. in 1604/05.[6] He had a legal training, and was admitted a member of Gray's Inn on 2 February 1609/10,[7] as of Ash, Essex.

In 1614 he was elected Member of Parliament for Totnes.[8] He was knighted at Hatton House on 8 November 1617.[9] He was a board member of the Somers Isles Company, and in 1619 bought shares in the Virginia Company. In November 1620, he was listed as one of the shareholders of the Plymouth Council for New England, a group that would open up colonization of New England.[1] In 1621 he was elected MP for East Retford[8] and sat on a royal commission in Ireland in 1622.[10]

Rich became a prominent member of the Virginia Company, and when, in April 1623, there occurred the great split between two factions in the company, he took a leading part on the side of his cousin, Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick.[11][12] In 1624 he was elected MP for East Retford and for Harwich and chose to sit for Harwich.[8] He was specially attacked by the opposing faction of the Virginia Company when the dispute came before the House of Commons in May 1624, but he sat on the Virginia commission of July 1624.[1]

Rich was re-elected MP for Harwich in 1626 and 1628 and sat until 1629 when King Charles decided to rule without parliament for eleven years.[8] In 1629, with the Earl of Warwick and others, he found the funds for the first voyage of discovery to Providence Island, off the north-east of Yucatan. On 4 December 1630 they received the patent forming the governor and company of adventurers for the plantation of Providence and Henrietta. To this Providence Island Company Rich seems henceforth to have devoted his best efforts. Many matters of importance, especially regulations and affairs requiring legal handling, were left to him. When fresh funds were required he was always the first to respond. He appears to have pursued a forward policy, for in 1635 he advocated the admission of all the adventurers to the benefits of the trade of the main. A little later, on his motion, the first local council of Providence was appointed. On 7 May 1635 he was appointed deputy governor of the company, and held the post for about a year.[1]

Rich died before 26 May 1636. It was rumoured to Mathew Cradock that overdoses from an antimonial cup from Massachusetts hastened his end.[13] In his will[14] he named several of the Rich (Warwick) family. He also left money and lands in the Bermudas to maintain schools there.[15] He desired to be buried at Stondon Massey, Essex, the manor of which he purchased in around 1610.[16] He left the manor to his nephew Nathaniel Rich, son of his brother Robert who had pre-deceased him.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Rich, Nathaniel (1585?-1636)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ G. Yerby and R. Sgroi, 'Rich, Nathaniel (1585-1636), of Warwick House, Holborn, London and Stondon Massey, Essex', in A. Thrush and J.P. Ferris (eds), The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629 (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Read here
  3. ^ J.R. Browne, 'Sir Nathaniel Riche', Notes and Queries Series 5 Vol. 10, p. 31 (John Francis, London 1878); W.D. Pine, 'Sir Nathaniel Rich - Col. Nathaniel Rich', Notes and Queries 8th series Vol. I, p. 66-67. (1892).
  4. ^ Jane Machell (a daughter of John Machell, Sheriff of London 1555-56) married 'Richard Riches' at St Mary Aldermary, City of London in 1574. J.L. Chester, The Parish Registers of St Mary Aldermary, Harleian Society, Registers Vol. V (London 1880), p. 5.
  5. ^ Will of Richard Rich of Leigh, gentleman, Essex Record Office D/ABW 32/91.
  6. ^ J. & J.A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses Part 1 Vol 3 (Cambridge University Press 1924), p. 449.
  7. ^ Admissions 2 February 1609 (Old Style), J. Foster, The Register of Admissions to Gray's Inn, 1521-1887 (Hansard, London 1889), p. 123.
  8. ^ a b c d Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. pp. 229–239. 
  9. ^ Knights of England
  10. ^ A. Brown, The Genesis of the United States, 2 Vols (Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston & New York/Riverside Press, Cambridge 1891), II, pp. 979-80.
  11. ^ The Genesis of the United States, II, pp. 980-82.
  12. ^ S.M. Kingsbury, The Records of the Virginia Company of London 4 Vols. Library of Congress.Vol. 4. (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington 1935)
  13. ^ Letter of Mathew Cradock to John Winthrop, 15 March 1636/37, Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Series IV Vol. 6 (The Society, Boston 1863), pp. 125 ff.
  14. ^ Will of Sir Nathaniel Riche of Dalham, Suffolk (P.C.C. 1636).
  15. ^ J.H. Lefroy, Memorials of the Discovery and Settlement of the Bermudas or Somers Islands 1511-1687, 2 Vols (Longmans, Green & Co., London 1879), II, pp. 122-23, 701.
  16. ^ 'Stondon Massey: Manor', in W.R. Powell (ed.), A History of the County of Essex Vol. 4, Ongar Hundred (V.C.H., London 1956), pp. 242-45. (British History Online accessed 4 June 2016).
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Christopher Brocking
Walter Dottyn
Member of Parliament for Totnes
1614
With: Lawrence Adams
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Giles
Richard Rodd
Preceded by
Sir William Cavendish
Sir Walter Chute
Member of Parliament for East Retford
1621–1624
With: Edward Wortley 1621–1622
John Holles 1624
Succeeded by
Sir Francis Wortley
John Holles
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Cheek
Edward Grimston
Member of Parliament for Harwich
1624
With: Christopher Herrys
Succeeded by
Christopher Herrys
Sir Edmund Sawyer
Preceded by
Christopher Herrys
Sir Edmund Sawyer
Member of Parliament for Harwich
1626–1629
With: Christopher Herrys
Succeeded by
Parliament suspended until 1640