Hewson, John (DNB00)
HEWSON, JOHN (d. 1662), regicide, was, according to Wood, ‘sometime an honest shoemaker in Westminster’ (Fasti, 1649). This statement seems confirmed by the fact that on 26 Feb. 1628 the Massachusetts Company agreed to purchase of John Hewson eight pairs of shoes (Young, Chronicles of the first Planters of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 1846, p. 46). Hewson served in the parliamentary army from the beginning of the war, first in the armies of Essex and Manchester, and then as lieutenant-colonel of Pickering's regiment in the new model (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1654, p. 33; Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, p. 329). At the storming of Bridgwater (22 July 1647) the forlorn hope was led by Hewson, and in December following, on Pickering's death, he succeeded to the command of his regiment (ib. p. 78). In the quarrel between the army and parliament Hewson sided with the former, was one of the commissioners appointed to represent the grievances of the soldiers in April 1647, and one of the presenters of the charge against the eleven members (Rushworth, vii. 458, 481). He is mentioned as praying in the meeting of the army council at Windsor on 21 Dec. 1647 (ib. viii. 974). Fairfax, in his account of the fight at Maidstone (1 June 1648), notices ‘the valour and resolution of Col. Hewson, whose regiment had the hardest task’ (Fairfax, Correspondence, iv. 32). Hewson took part also, under the command of Colonel Rich, in the relief of Dover and in the defeat of the cavaliers before Deal (14 Aug. 1648; Rushworth, viii. 1149, 1228). He was one of the king's judges, sat regularly, and signed the death-warrant (Noble, Regicides, i. 352). On 19 May 1649 he was created M.A. at Oxford.
Hewson commanded a foot regiment in Cromwell's expedition to Ireland, relieved Arklow, captured Ballyronan and Leighlinbridge, was wounded at the storming of Kilkenny, and became governor of Dublin (Murphy, Cromwell in Ireland, pp. 140, 281, 283, 287, 299). A number of his letters during his service in Ireland are printed in ‘Mercurius Politicus’ and ‘Proceedings in Parliament’ (see also Old Parliamentary History, xix. 462, 481, xx. 32; Cary, Memorials of the Civil War, ii. 273). An independent of the extreme type, he joined the church established by John Rogers at Dublin, giving him an account of his religious experience, which was printed by Rogers in the pamphlet entitled ‘Ohel, or Bethshemesh,’ pp. 395, 412, 1653. He favoured the anabaptists, petitioned the Protector (2 Dec. 1655) to send Fleetwood back to Ireland, and headed a faction which gave much trouble to Henry Cromwell (Thurloe, iv. 276, 348, 422, 742). According to Ludlow, he was bribed to support the Protector by the payment of his arrears, but he was far from being a thoroughgoing supporter of his government (ib. v. 327, vi. 94; Ludlow, ed. 1751, p. 195; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1654, p. 13; Burton, Diary, i. 421). Hewson represented Ireland in the Little parliament of 1653, Dublin in 1654, and Guildford in 1656 (ib. iv. 492). He was knighted by Cromwell in December 1657, and was also called to his ‘House of Lords’ (Mercurius Politicus, 3–10 Dec. 1657; Thurloe, vi. 668). On 8 July 1659 the committee for the nomination of officers appointed him commander-in-chief of the foot during his stay in Ireland, and on 26 Oct. following, after Lambert had expelled the parliament, Hewson was named one of the committee of safety established by the officers of the army (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659–1660, p. 13; Baker, Chronicle, ed. 1670, p. 684). On 5 Dec. 1659 he was ordered to suppress a tumult of the London apprentices, who were petitioning for a free parliament, and in carrying out his orders two or three apprentices were killed and about twenty wounded (ib. p. 697; Ludlow, p. 294; Public Intelligencer, 5–12 Dec. 1659). This made Hewson extremely unpopular, and gave rise to lampoons and caricatures which dwelt on his early occupation, his one eye, and other characteristics. Thomas Flatman [q. v.], in ‘Don Juan Lamberto’ (pt. i. chap. xviii.), gave a satirical account of his exploits against the apprentices, and prefixed to pt. ii. a caricature of ‘the giant Husonio.’ Edmund Gayton [q. v.] attacked him in ‘Walk, Knaves, Walk,’ 1659, a mock sermon on boots, supposed to have been preached by Hewson's chaplain. Ballads were circulated against him, like ‘The Cobbler's last Will and Testament, or the Lord Hewson's translation,’ and ‘A Hymn to the gentle Craft, or Hewson's Lamentation’ (The Rump, or an Exact Collection of the Choicest Poems, &c., 1662, ii. 145, 157; for caricatures see Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, ‘Satires,’ i. 519, 521, 535, 537, 548). On the restoration of the parliament (26 Dec. 1659), Hewson was pardoned by it, but seems to have lost his regiment (Commons' Journals, vii. 804). On 26 Jan. 1660 Pepys notes that a gibbet was set up in Cheapside with Hewson's picture upon it. In May he deemed it wise to leave England, and on 21 May the House of Commons was informed of his escape (Kennett, Register, p. 155).
Hewson was excepted from the act of indemnity (ib. pp. 176, 240). He is said by Wood to have died at Amsterdam in 1662 (Fasti, 1649). In March 1666 a wandering tobacco-seller who was arrested in England under the belief that he was Hewson stated that he was at Rouen when Hewson died there (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1665–6, p. 321).
[Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 134; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. iii. 123; Noble's Lives of the Regicides. The originals of some of the letters are in the Tanner and Rawlinson Collections in the Bodleian Library.]