Sandys, Sir Edwin, 1561–1629, English statesman, leading promoter of the colony in Virginia; son of Archbishop Edwin Sandys. He studied law and was first returned to Parliament in 1586. His Europae Speculum (1605), published after an extended tour abroad beginning in 1593, revealed a remarkably tolerant attitude toward Roman Catholics for an Englishman of that period. Sandys was knighted (1603), reentered Parliament (1604), and became a leading figure in the parliamentary opposition to King James I. He was a member of several chartered companies, including the London Company, of which he became treasurer in 1619. As leader of the liberal faction within the company, Sandys was responsible for many of the progressive features that characterized the last years of the company's control over Virginia, including the introduction of representative government in the first house of burgesses (1619). The king prevented his reelection as treasurer in 1620, but despite opposition from this and other formidable quarters he continued to wield great influence until the king annulled the company's charter in 1624.
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