WYNNE (Winne), EDWARD, captain, colonizer, first governor of the Newfoundland colony of Sir George Calvert (Lord Baltimore); fl. 1621–26.
Wynne was a Welshman and may possibly have been introduced to Calvert by Sir William Vaughan from whom Calvert received his first grant of land in 1620.
In August 1621 Wynne established a colony of 12 men at Ferryland and later that month sent Calvert an extremely favourable report of the country. During the first year the settlers, helped by mild weather, worked with great industry in building, fortifying their habitation, and clearing land. In 1622 a new group of colonists arrived led by Capt. Daniel Powell; 32 people spent that winter in Newfoundland including 7 women. Wynne and other settlers continued to send home glowing, and probably over-optimistic, reports of their achievements. Thus encouraged, Calvert had his grant confirmed and enlarged by royal charter which, in 1623, created the province of Avalon.
Wynne remained governor until 1625 in which year Calvert intended but failed to visit the colony. There appears to be no foundation for the charge that Wynne cheated his employer (Prowse, History of Nfld., 119) but it is probable that, like many of the inexperienced governors who were sent out at this time, he proved incapable of coping with the difficult conditions. By 1626 Wynne had been replaced as governor by Sir Arthur Aston, Calvert having realized that Wynne’s claims were exaggerated and that the colony was in danger of failure. Calvert later found it necessary to supervise the venture personally.
Wynne later wrote a tract, dedicated to Charles I, advocating the exploitation of Newfoundland, entitled “The British India,” BM, Royal ms 17 A LVII. His letters to Calvert are published in Edward Winne, A letter to Sir George Calvert ([London?], 1621) and in Richard Whitbourne, A discourse and discovery of New-found-land: as also an invitation . . . (London, 1622, another ed., 1623). Hist. mss Comm., 23, Cowper (Coke mss), I. PRO, CSP, Col., 1574–1660. William Vaughan [Orpheus Junior], The golden fleece (London, 1626). Prowse, History of Nfld.