Randolph, Thomas

, a statesman in queen Elizabeth’s reign, the son of Avery Randolph of Badlesmere in Kent, was born in that county in 1523. He was, according to his own account, a pupil of George Buchanan, but had his academical education at Christ Church, Oxford, then newly founded; where he took the degree of bachelor of law in 1547, about which time he was made a public notary. In Nov. 1549, he became principal of Broadgatehall (now Pembroke college), and continued in that office until 1553, when the persecution of the protestants under queen Mary, obliged him to retire to France. On the accession of queen Elizabeth, he came into high favour, and his talents recommended him to be employed in various embassies, particularly in Scotland during the commotions | there: he was sent thrice to queen Mary, and afterwards seven times to her son and successor James VI. We find him also several times supporting the same character at the courts of Russia and France. Eiis first mission to Scotland, in 1561, had for its professed object to promote a mutual friendship between the two nations, and to endeavour that queen Mary, who hadj ust lost her husband, Francis II. king of France, should not again marry a foreigner; but according to Sir James Melvil and others, his real business was to intrigue between the two parties which then divided Scotland, and rather to increase than allay their animosities. In this plan secretary Cecil was supposed to be the director, and Randolph the executor. By a letter published by Mr. Lodge, who says that Randolph was a man of “a dark intriguing spirit, full of cunning, and void of conscience,” we learn that at one time he was confined in prison at Edinburgh; but probably for a short time, as the circumstance is not mentioned in any history. In Russia, to which he was sent in 1560, his conduct merits greater approbation, as in the following year, he brought to conclusion a commercial treaty highly advantageous to the English merchants, who were then enabled to establish the “Russia Company.” His secretary on this embassy was George Turberville the poet, who has described the manners and customs of the Moscovites in some epistles to his friends, which are inserted in Hakluyt’s voyages. In 1571, during one of his embassies to Scotland, he had the spirit to challenge Virac, the French ambassador in that kingdom, who had taken some liberties with queen Elizabeth’s character and with his own. For all these services the queen is accused of having rewarded Mr. Randolph rather niggardly, having bestowed on him only the order of knighthood, the office of chamberlain of the exchequer, and that of postmaster, to neither of which last was much profit annexed, and a few small estates. Yet with these he is said to have been content, although he had a large family. He died at his house on St. Peter’s hill, near Thames-street, London, June 8, 1590, in the sixty-seventh year of his age, and was buried in the church of St. Peter, Paul’s wharf. In his latter days he appears to have lived retired, “setting his mind,” as he expresses it, “upon the heavenly country, and reconciling himself to the divine mercy by a timely repentance.” Such likewise is the advice he gave to sir Francis Walsingham, whose sister he had married. He tells him, “how worthy. | yea, how necessary a thing it was, that they should at length bid farewell to the tricks, he of a secretary, and himself of an ambassador.” Several of his letters and dispatches are in the Cotton collection in the British Museum, and among bishop More’s books in the public library at Cambridge. Two of his letters were published by James Oliphant, among Buchanan’s Letters, 1711, 8vo, and have been inserted since in the Leyden and Edinburgh edition of Buchanan’s works, one to Buchanan himself, and the ether to Peter Yonge, school- master to James VI. There are also some of his letters, instructions, and dispatches, printed in Strype’s “Annals,” Goodall’s “Examination of the Letters said to be written by Mary queen of Scots,” and in Robertson’s History of Scotland," &C. 1

1 Biog. Brit. Lodge’s Illustrations.