Sir Edmund Andros, an English colonial governor, born in London, Dec. 6, 1637, died there, Feb. 24, 1714. He was brought up at court, his father being an officer of the royal household. He was a major in Prince Rupert's dragoons, and in 1674 succeeded his father as bailiff of Guernsey. In the same year he was commissioned governor of New York, and received its surrender by the Dutch after their brief repossession of it. He administered its affairs in the interest of the duke of York, was involved in controversies with the surrounding colonies and with the French in Canada by his extensive claims to jurisdiction, and in 1680 seized the government of East Jersey, deposing Philip Carteret. He was recalled to England in 1681, cleared himself of several charges preferred against him, and retired to Guernsey. New England having been consolidated, Andros was appointed its governor general in 1686, under instructions which, while establishing religious toleration, forbade all printing, and authorized him to appoint and remove his own council, and with their consent to enact laws, levy taxes, and control the militia. Carrying out these instructions in a despotic manner, his government soon became very odious to the colonists.
Connecticut having held out against him, he appeared in the council chamber at Hartford with an armed guard in October, 1687, and demanded the surrender of its charter, which is said to have been prevented by its sudden removal and concealment in a hollow tree afterward celebrated as the charter oak. Contemporary documents, however, seem to prove that no such event occurred, that Andros really possessed himself of the original charter, and that a duplicate had been concealed some time previously. (See Brodhead's "History of New York," vol. ii., pp. 472-'3.) In 1688 New York and New Jersey were added to his jurisdiction, and Francis Nicholson was appointed lieutenant governor there. On the news of the revolution in England, the people of Boston imprisoned Andros and several of his officers, April 18, 1689, and the New England colonies restored their former governments, while Jacob Leisler usurped authority in New York. (See Leislee.) In July he was sent to England by order of King William, with a committee of accusers, but was acquitted without a formal trial.
In 1692 he was made governor of Virginia, where he made himself comparatively popular, but was removed in 1698 through the influence of Commissary Blair. In 1704-'6 he was governor of Guernsey. In 1691 Andros published a narrative of his proceedings in New England, which was republished in 1773.