Thomas Randolph (Diplomatist) - Encyclopedia

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THOMAS RANDOLPH (1523-1590), English diplomatist, son of Avery Randolph, a Kentish gentleman, was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1549 became principal of Pembroke College, Oxford, then known as Broadgates Hall. During 1 In 1754 the Burgesses sent him to London to argue against the governor's demand for a fee of one pistole on every land patent; his plea was successful, but the governor superseded him with George Wythe, who resigned in Randolph's favour upon his return from England. The Burgesses voted Randolph £2500 with the grant of £ 20,000 to Governor Dinwiddie for Indian warfare; the governor would not approve this appropriation, however, until Randolph apologized for leaving his office without the governor's permission.

the reign of Mary, Randolph, who was a -zealous Protestant, sought refuge in Paris, where he cultivated the society of scholars. Returning to England after the accession of Elizabeth, he was soon employed as a confidential diplomatic agent of the English queen in Scotland. Here he succeeded in gaining the confidence of the Protestant party, with whom he became a person of great influence. Randolph's despatches from Scotland between 1560 and 1585 supply important materials for the history of the political intrigues of that period. Randolph, who had hitherto remained ostensibly on terms of friendship with Mary Queen of Scots, exerted his influence on instructions from Elizabeth to prevent Mary's marriage with Darnley; but in 1566 he was driven from Scotland on the charge of having fomented Murray's rebellion, and he then obtained government employment of secondary importance in England. In 1568 he undertook a mission to Russia which resulted in the concession by Ivan the Terrible of certain privileges to English merchants; and in 1570 he returned to Scotland, where, after the murder of the regent Murray in January of that year, he "succeeded," says Andrew Lang, "in making civil war inevitable; he himself was in high spirits, as always when mischief was in hand." After carrying through certain diplomatic business in France in 1573 and 1576, Randolph returned in January 1581 to Scotland, where the earl of Morton, the regent, had been arrested a few days previously. Randolph, acting on Elizabeth's instructions, intrigued with Angus and the Douglases in favour of a plot to seize the person of the young King James, and to save Morton by laying violent hands on the earl of Lennox. Douglas of Whittingham, who was employed in the intrigue, on being arrested made revelations which imperilled Randolph, and the latter prudently withdrew to Berwick before the execution of Morton in June 1581. In 1585, when he next visited Scotland, he was more successful, being instrumental in arranging a treaty between England and Scotland. For the next four years he was chancellor of the exchequer in England, and he died in London in June 1590. Randolph married, in 1571, Anne, daughter of Thomas Walsingham. He was a personal friend of George Buchanan, in whose History of Scotland he took a lively interest, and he has been credited, though on doubtful evidence, with the authorship of a Life of the historian in Latin.

See J. A. Froude, History of England (12 vols., London, 1881); Andrew Lang, History of Scotland, vol. ii. (4 vols., London, 1902-7); Calendar of State Papers relating to Scotland (1509-1603), edited by M. J. Thorpe (2 vols.); Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series of the Reign of Elizabeth; Anthony a Wood, Athenae Oxonienses and Fasti, edited by P. Bliss (4 vols., London, 1813-20).

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