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William Fiennes Saye and Sele, 1st Viscount

Saye and Sele, William Fiennes, 1st Viscount (fĪnz, sāˈənsēl) [key], 1582–1662, English politician and promoter of colonization in America. He was a Puritan in religious sympathy and a leader in the House of Lords of the opposition to James I and Charles I. From 1630, Saye, with Robert Greville (2d Baron Brooke), John Pym, and others, entered into several colonization schemes. The first of these was on Providence Island (now Providencia, part of Colombia) in the Caribbean. The second was at Saybrook (named for the two lords), Conn., settled in 1635 on the basis of a deed obtained from the 2d earl of Warwick. John Winthrop the younger (1606–76) was their governor at Saybrook. In 1633 they bought a plantation at Cocheco (now Dover, N.H.). The lords planned to settle in New England, but their plan for establishing a hereditary aristocracy in the colonies met with disfavor in New England, and after a few years they lost interest in the settlements. In 1641 they sold the Dover establishment to Massachusetts, and three years later they sold Saybrook to Connecticut. Providence Island was taken by the Spanish in 1641. In the English civil war Saye remained in the parliamentary party and played a decisive role in securing the adoption of the Self-Denying Ordinance (1645). In the dispute between the army and Parliament in 1647 he supported the army. He did not, however, desire the abolition of the monarchy, and he was one of the parliamentary commissioners who negotiated with Charles at Newport in 1648. He retired from public life after the king's execution (1649).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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