fered death so unpitied, and (which is more) whose execution was the delight of the people’ (Mercurius Publicus, 11–18 Oct. p. 670; The Speeches and Prayers of some of the late King's Judges, 4to, 1660, pp. 58–62; Rebels no Saints, 8vo, 1661, pp. 71–80).
The popular hatred was hardly deserved. Peters had earned it by what he said rather than by what he did. His public-spirited exertions for the general good and his kindnesses to individual royalists were forgotten, and only his denunciations of the king and his attacks on the clergy were remembered. Burnet characterises him as ‘an enthusiastical buffoon preacher, though a very vicious man, who had been of great use to Cromwell, and had been very outrageous in pressing the king's death with the cruelty and rudeness of an inquisitor’ (Own Time, ed. 1833, i. 290). His jocularity had given as much offence as his violence, and pamphlets were compiled which related his sayings and attributed to him a number of time-honoured witticisms and practical jokes (The Tales and Jests of Mr. Hugh Peters, published by one that formerly hath been conversant with the author in his lifetime, 4to, 1660; Hugh Peters his Figaries, 4to, 1660). His reputation was further assailed in songs and satires charging him with embezzlement, drunkenness, adultery, and other crimes; but these accusations were among the ordinary controversial weapons of the period, and deserve no credit (Don Juan Lamberto, 4to, 1661, pt. ii. chap. viii.; Yonge, England's Shame, 8vo, 1663, pp. 14, 19, 27, 53). They rest on no evidence, and were solemnly denied by Peters. In one case the publisher of these libels was obliged to insert a public apology in the newspapers (Several Proceedings in Parliament, 2–9 Sept. 1652). An examination of the career and the writings of Peters shows him to have been an honest, upright, and genial man, whose defects of taste and judgment explain much of the odium which he incurred, but do not justify it.
In person Peters is described as tall and thin, according to the tradition recorded by one of his successors at Salem, but his portraits represent a full-faced, and apparently rather corpulent man (Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. 1st ser. vi. 252). A picture of him, described by Cole, as showing ‘rather a well-looking open-countenanced man,’ was formerly in the master's lodge at Queens' College, Cambridge (Diary of Thomas Burton, i. 244). One belonging to the Rev. Dr. Treffry was exhibited in the National Portrait Collection of 1868 (No. 724); the best engraved portrait is that prefixed to ‘A Dying Father's Last Legacy,’ 12mo, 1660. A list of others is given in the catalogue of the portraits in the Sutherland Collection in the Bodleian Library, and many satirical prints and caricatures are described in the British Museum Catalogue of Prints and Drawings (Satires, vol. i. 1870).
Peters married twice: first, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Cooke of Pebmarsh, Essex, and widow of Edmund Read of Wickford in the same county; she died about 1637. Secondly, Deliverance Sheffield; she was still alive in 1677 in New England, and was supported by charity (Hutchinson Papers, Prince Soc. ii. 252). By his second marriage Peters had one daughter, Elizabeth, to whom his ‘Last Legacy’ is addressed. She is said to have married and left descendants in America, but the accuracy of the pedigree is disputed (Caulfield, Reprint of the Tales and Jests of Hugh Peters, 1807, p. xiv; Hist. of the Rev. Hugh Peters, by Samuel Peters, New York, 1807, 8vo).
Hugh Peters was the author of the following pamphlets: 1. ‘The Advice of that Worthy Commander Sir Edward Harwood upon occasion of the French King's Preparations … Also a relation of his life and death’ (the relation is by Peters), 4to, 1642; reprinted in the ‘Harleian Miscellany,’ ed. Park, iv. 268. 2. ‘A True Relation of the passages of God's Providence in a voyage for Ireland … wherein every day's work is set down faithfully by H. P., an eye-witness thereof,’ 4to, 1642. 3. ‘Preface to Richard Mather's Church Government and Church Covenant discussed,’ 4to, 1643. 4. ‘Mr. Peter's Report from the Armies, 26 July 1645, with a list of the chiefest officers taken at Bridgewater,’ &c., 4to, 1645. 5. ‘Mr. Peter's report from Bristol,’ 4to, 1645. 6. ‘The Full and Last Relation of all things concerning Basing House, with divers other Passages represented to Mr. Speaker and divers Members in the House. By Mr. Peters who came from Lieut.-Gen. Cromwell,’ 4to, 1645. 7. ‘Master Peter's Message from Sir Thomas Fairfax with the narration of the taking of Dartmouth,’ 4to, 1646. 8. ‘Master Peter's Message from Sir Thomas Fairfax … with the whole state of the west and all the particulars about the disbanding of the Prince and Sir Ralph Hopton's Army,’ 4to, 1646. 9. ‘God's Doings and Man's Duty,’ opened in a sermon preached 2 April 1646, 4to. 10. ‘Mr. Peter's Last Report of the English Wars, occasioned by the importunity of a Friend pressing an Answer to seven Queries,’ 1646, 4to. 11. ‘Several Propositions presented to the House of Commons by Mr. Peters concerning the Presbyterian Ministers of this