Robert Rich (1587–1658)

A Member of the Westminster Assembly and Earl of Warwick

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His Works:

  1. A declaration of His Excellency Robert E. of Warwick Lord High Admirall of England, concerning the uniting of the two navies, and restoring of the Kings Majesty, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York and the rest of the royall issue to their just rights and privledges (1648) by Robert Rich
  2. A letter sent from the Right Honorable, Robert, Earl of Warwick, Admirall of the sea, to M. John Pym, Esq (1642) by Robert Rich
  3. A most vvorthy speech (1642) by Robert Rich
  4. Concerning the King, Parliament, Army, and kingdome (1648) by Robert Rich
  5. Containing a narrative of his proceedings in pursuit of the revolted ships, and their declining the engagement (1648) by Robert Rich
  6. Fully relating the condition of the affaires at sea (1648) by Robert Rich
  7. Relating the taking of all the forts, and 16 pieces of ordnance, from the malignant Cornishmen, that had before besieged the city of Exeter (1643) by Robert Rich
  8. The Earl of VVarwick’s letter from aboard His Majesties ship (1642) by Robert Rich
  9. The Earle of VVarvvicks summons to the Kings fleet at Gowry, and Prince Charles his answer (1648) by Robert Rich
  10. To the speaker of the House of Peeres (1644) by Robert Rich

 

Biography of Robert Rich:

Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick (5 June 1587 – 19 April 1658) was an English colonial administrator, admiral, and Puritan.

Rich was the eldest son of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick and his wife Penelope Devereux, Lady Rich, and succeeded to his father’s title (Earl of Warwick) in 1619 (a younger brother was Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland). Early developing interest in colonial ventures, he joined the Guinea, New England, and Virginia companies, as well as the Virginia Company’s offspring, the Somers Isles Company. Warwick’s enterprises involved him in disputes with the British East India Company (1617) and with the Virginia Company, which in 1624 was suppressed as a result of his action. In 1627 he commanded an unsuccessful privateering expedition against the Spaniards.

Warwick’s Puritan connections and sympathies gradually estranged him from the court but promoted his association with the New England colonies. In 1628 he indirectly procured the patent for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and in 1631 he granted the “Saybrook” patent in Connecticut. Forced to resign the presidency of the New England Company in the same year, he continued to manage the Somers Isles Company and Providence Island Company, the latter of which, founded in 1630, administered Old Providence on the Mosquito Coast. Meanwhile, in England, Warwick opposed the forced loan of 1626, the payment of ship money, and Laud’s church policy.

His Richneck Plantation was located in what is now the independent city of Newport News, Virginia. The Warwick River, Warwick Towne, Warwick River Shire, and Warwick County, Virginia are all believed named for him, as are Warwick, Rhode Island and Warwick Parish in Bermuda (alias The Somers Isles). The oldest school in Bermuda, Warwick Academy, was built on land in Warwick Parish given by the Earl of Warwick; the school was begun in the 1650s (its early records were lost with those of the Warwick Vestry in a twentieth-century shipwreck), though the school places its founding officially in 1662.

In 1642, following the dismissal of the Earl of Northumberland as Lord High Admiral, Warwick was appointed commander of the fleet by Parliament. In 1643 he was appointed head of a commission for the government of the colonies, which the next year incorporated Providence Plantations, afterwards Rhode Island, and in this capacity he exerted himself to secure religious liberty.

As commander of the fleet, in 1648, Warwick retook the ‘Castles of the Downs’ (at Walmer, Deal, and Sandown) for Parliament, and became Deal Castle’s captain 1648–53. However, he was dismissed from office on the abolition of the House of Lords in 1649, he retired from national public life, but was intimately associated with Cromwell, whose daughter Francis married his grandson and heir, also Robert Rich, in 1657.

Bible Verse:

“I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless,” (Gen. 17:1).

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