Hughes, Lewis (DNB00)

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HUGHES, LEWIS (fl. 1620), chaplain at the Bermudas, a Welshman, who seems to have taken holy orders in England, was one of the earliest English settlers in the Bermudas, and probably arrived in the island on 11 July 1612. The plantation was at the time in the hands of the Virginia Company. Hughes took a prominent part in the affairs of the colony, and engaged in commerce there. In 1615, after the first governor (Moore) left the islands, his authority fell into the hands of three deputy governors, each acting for a month in turn, and, to Hughes's disgust, much disorder and drunkenness prevailed (cf. App. ii. 8th Rep. Dep. Keep. Publ. Records, p. 134), Hughes contrived to defeat an attempt of the deputies to continue in office six months after the new governor should arrive. When Hughes explained his action from his pulpit, there was a scene in church, and he was arrested; he was released shortly afterwards, but quarrelled with Keith, his fellow minister, who had taken the deputies' side, and was imprisoned again for a short time.

On 29 June 1615 the charter incorporating the Bermudas Company was granted by James I, and the new governor (Tucker) was instructed to admit Hughes to his council. Tucker arrived in May 1616, and soon engaged in a fierce quarrel with Hughes. Hughes denounced Tucker for building the governor's house by forced labour, and the governor, according to Hughes, grossly ill-used him. Occasionally high words passed between them in church, as when `the preacher reproueinge … some of his auditory for gazeing vpon the women, "And why not, I pray, sir? (cryes out the gouernour in publick) Are they not God's creatures?"' Hughes also had difficulties about the church service, and drew up a form for the use of his congregation, of which a manuscript copy is in the possession of the Duke of Manchester (ib. pp. 7, 31, 33). Tucker afterwards charged him with nonconformity. In an interval between Tucker's departure and the arrival of his successor, Butler, in 1619, confusion again prevailed. A disloyal faction, recognising Hughes's influence, tried hard to win his support, but `his stiff refusall and earnest protestation against it gave a main blow to their mutinous and confused proiects.'

Hughes came to England in 1620 to secure more ministers, and to give the company an account of the grievances of the people. Tucker thereupon stirred up Sir Edwin Sands to accuse him of railing against bishops, the church, and the book of common prayer, and Hughes managed to answer the charges, but the company declined to contribute to his expenses in coming over. In 1621 he returned to the Bermudas, and in 1622 was appointed one of the governing body which Governor Butler nominated on his departure. About 1625 he finally came back to England. In that year he petitioned the privy council for arrears of his salary. He was probably the Lewis Hughes who was ejected from the chaplaincy of the White Lion gaol, Southwark, in 1627 for nonconformity, and received in 1645 the sequestered rectory of Westbourne, Sussex, but resigned it before 1 May 1647 (App. to 6th Rep. ib.) Hughes married for the second time, at St. George's, Botolph Lane, by license dated 16 July 1625, Anne, widow of John Smith, draper, of London. His first wife seems to have remained in England while he was in the Bermudas. In 1625 Hughes speaks of her as `miserable, weake, and sicke.'

Hughes published: 1. `A Letter sent into England from the Summer Ilands,' London, 1615, 4to. 2. `A Plaine and True Relation of the Goodnes of God towards the Sommer Ilands, written by way of Exhortation …' London, 1621, 4to. 3. `Certaine Grievances well worthy the serious Consideration of the … Parliament,' 1640, 4to, a pamphlet directed against the church service. Another edition was published before the year was out. 4. `Certaine Grievances, or the Errours of the Service Booke, …' 1641, 4to, very similar in matter to the preceding, in the form of a dialogue. An answer appeared in the same year, and another edition of the dialogue in 1642, said to be the fifth impression. 5. `Signs from Heaven of the Wrath and Judgements of God ready to come upon the Enemies and Persecutors of the Truth: whereunto are annexed Examples of most fearful Judgements of God, upon Churches in time of Divine Service, and upon Sabbath Breakers, and upon such as have reviled the Protestants … , calling them Roundheads, in reproach and derision,' London, 1642, 4to. Much of this appears againin 6. 'A Looking-glasse for all true hearted Christians …' London, 1642, 8vo. 7. A printed copy of Hughes's Petition of 1625 to the Privy Council, giving an account of his many troubles, is in Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 12496.

[Notes and Queries, 5th ser. ix. 488, xii. 215, 516; Hughes's Works, especially his Petition; Chester's London Marriage Licenses; Cal. State Papers, Colon. Ser., America and the West Indies,1574-1660, 1662; Cal.State Papers, Dom. 1633-4 p. 262, 1654 p. 358; Lefroy's Memorials of the Bermudas; Smith's History of Virginia; Hist. of the Bermudas, attributed to Smith, ed. Lefroy (Hakluyt Soc.); Neill's Hist. of the Virginia Company; Neill's English Colonisation of America during the Seventeenth Century.]

W. A. J. A.