John Hoskins was born in about 1595. By the 1620s he was the most important miniaturist working in England.
Hoskins was employed by Charles I from April 1640 as a limner and painted several portraits of Henrietta Maria and her children. Hoskins was paid £200 a year but his work for the king was soon overshadowed by the paintings of his nephew and pupil, Samuel Cooper.
John Hoskins died in Covent Garden on 22nd February, 1665.
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HOSKINS, John (1566-1638), of the Middle Temple, London and Widemarsh Street, Hereford, Herefs. later of Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, London and Moorhampton, Abbey Dore, Herefs.
b. 1 Mar. 1566,1 3rd but 2nd s. of John Hoskins (d. by 3 Mar. 1607), of Monkton, Llanwarne, Herefs. and Margery, da. of Thomas Jones of Llanwarne.2 educ. Westminster sch. 1578 Winchester coll. Hants 1579 New Coll. Oxf. 1585, fell. 1586-92, BA 1588, MA 1592 M. Temple 1593, called 1600.3 m. (1) 1 Aug. 1601,4 Benedicta (d. 6 Oct. 1625), da. of John Moyle of Buckwell, Kent, wid. of Francis Bourne (bur. 24 Feb. 1601), of Sutton St. Clere, Som. and the Middle Temple, 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 1da.5 (2) 10 Dec. 1627, Isabel, da. of William Riseley&dagger of Chetwode, Bucks., wid. of Thomas Heath of Shelswell, Oxon. and Devereux Barrett of Tenby, Pemb., s.p.6 d. 27 Aug. 1638.7
Dep. steward, Hereford by 1602-14,8 common councilman by 1619-?, alderman by 1634-d.9 commr. sewers, Herefs. 1604, Wye valley 162110 j.p. Herefs. by c.1605-at least c.1611, 1618-d.,11 Mon. 1620-d, Carm., Card., and Pemb. 1621-d., Haverfordwest by 1622-d.12 commr. subsidy, Hereford 1608, 1621-2, 1624, Herefs. 1621-2, 1624, 1626,13 aid, Herefs. 160914 piracy, Card. Carm. Pemb. 1623, oyer and terminer, Wales and the Marches 1624-at least 1634, Oxf. circ. 1625-38,15 mines, Card. 1625,16 subsidy arrears, Card. 1626,17 Forced Loan, Herefs. 1626-7, Card. 1627, Carm. 1627, Mon. 1627, Pemb. 1627,18 swans, Eng. except West Country ?1629.19
Reader, M. Temple 1620 bencher 1620-321 second j. S. Wales circ. 1621-d.22 sjt.-at-law 1623-d.23
Hoskins’ ancestors were tenants of the priory of Lanthony at Monkton Grange in Herefordshire by the middle of the fifteenth century.24 His elder brother Oswald became a London Draper,25 and Hoskins himself would also have been apprenticed had he not insisted on receiving a scholarly education. Gifted with a ‘great wit’, ‘exceeding pleasant’ conversation and a prodigious memory, he was apparently well launched on an academic career when, in 1592, he was appointed terrae filius, Oxford University’s licensed jester at the public act. He was so ‘bitterly satirical’ that he was deprived of his fellowship and forced to become schoolmaster at Ilchester, Somerset. There he may have made the acquaintance of the local magnate, (Sir) Edward Phelips*, as he was subsequently described as one of Phelips’ ‘chief consorts and minions’. He began reading for the bar at the comparatively advanced age of 27. At the Middle Temple ‘he wore good clothes and kept good company’. Indeed, ‘his excellent wit gave him letters of commendation to all ingenious persons’, including some junior government officials, whom he assisted in their Latin correspondence.26
Hoskins acquired a house in Hereford in 1601, and by the following year Sir John Scudamore&dagger, the borough’s recently elected high steward, had appointed him his deputy. It is unclear how Hoskins came by this position. One possible explanation is that it was through his cousin Thomas Jones&dagger, who represented Hereford under Elizabeth. However, as the Jones and Hoskins families fell out in the early 1590s, Hoskins probably owed his advancement to Walter Pye I*, Scudamore’s legal advisor, who shared chambers with Hoskins at the Middle Temple in the 1590s. The deputy stewardship was an important office, as there was no recorder in Hereford in this period and the incumbent, who was required to be a barrister, performed many of the functions of a recorder.27
Hoskins was first elected for Hereford in 1604. With Phelips in the chair, he had no difficulty in catching the Speaker’s eye. In the opening session he was appointed to 22 committees and reportedly spoke on 15 occasions. His first speech, on 14 Apr., was an attack on purveyance, and in particular the crown’s power to pre-empt markets and purchase goods at fixed prices for the royal Household. During debates on 23 May and 2 June he subsequently opposed compounding for purveyance and instead urged that the existing laws against abuses should be enforced. His hardline attitude was influenced by his hostility to the proposed Union with Scotland, for on 2 June he asserted that the House’s refusal to buy out purveyance was ‘our thankfulness to the king in naturalizing the Scots’. He proved equally opposed to granting supply, remarking on 19 June that ‘we have no sheep that yields two fleeces in the year’, by which he meant that it was impossible to vote money as the subsidies granted in 1601 were still being collected.28
In the debate on what name to give the newly united kingdoms of England and Scotland (18 Apr.), Hoskins argued that as ‘God hath made an union’, the Commons should ‘give obedience to the king’. Moreover, he observed that it was up to the king to choose the name himself, and that it was the typical for princes to ‘affect length of titles’, as the tale of someone who had been taken ill trying to recite all the titles of the emperor of Russia in one breath illustrated. However, he rejected the idea that Parliament could make the pairing of the two kingdoms perpetual, thereby implicitly ruling out any possibility of a full constitutional union. Moreover, he seems to have envisaged not a union between equals, as James intended, but one in which England, in effect, incorporated Scotland, for two days later he observed that ‘Scotland was held of England by homage: the tenancy and seigniory are come together’. It is not entirely clear what Hoskins thought the consequences of such an arrangement would be, but he seems to have warned that a union on these terms might lead to rebellion: ‘the adder shall tread him upon his heel, that breaketh down the hedge’.29 Following the appearance of the bishop of Bristol’s tract attacking the Commons for its hostility to the Union, Hoskins demanded to know whether anyone supported the bishop’s statements and by whose authority the book had been published. He was subsequently named to the committee to draft a message to the Lords concerning the book, and on 1 June was among those appointed to peruse the work and prepare for a conference with the Lords.30
Hoskins was classed by Tobie Matthew* as one of the two ‘vild’ speakers in the House (the other being Nicholas Fuller), probably because of his contributions concerning purveyance and the Union.31 However there was also a more constructive side to his parliamentary activities, as he took an interest in elections and the privileges of the House. On 16 Apr. he moved to insert the words ‘that no man should lose his debt’ in the bill to prevent outlaws from standing for Parliament, and was named to the committee after the bill received its second reading ten days later. On 17 Apr. he seconded Humphrey Winch’s motion to send for the sheriffs of Shropshire and Cardiganshire concerning the elections in those two shires. Hoskins considered the warden of the Fleet’s written apology for failing to release Sir Thomas Shirley* inadequate, and on 17 May demanded that the warden should petition the House for forgiveness.32
Hoskins reported two private bills. The first, on 30 Apr., concerned the Somerset estate of Sir John Rodney*, who like Hoskins had attended the Middle Temple. On 11 May he reported a bill to repeal an Act of 1601 concerning the estate of Edward Lucas, but the measure was subsequently dashed.33 On 4 May he spoke in favour of the bill promoted by Sir Robert Vernon* to secure his claim to the lordship of Powis, arguing ‘whatever is past help of law, and [not] contrary to reason, is to be helped by Parliament’. On 7 June he was among those who successfully opposed the bill to confirm an exchange of land between Sir Thomas Monson* and Trinity College, Cambridge at its third reading.34
On 24 May Hoskins reported from the committee for the relief of English officers who had served in Ireland, proposing that money should be raised by charging for the renewal of licenses for alehouses, taverns and inns. This motion was rejected, however, but Hoskins made a further report on 20 June recommending a voluntary subscription, which was accepted after a division.35 Hoskins contributed to the debate on the free trade bill on 6 June, when he cited a ‘great personage’ and claimed that the Merchant Adventurers were refusing to buy up cloth to force down prices. He argued that to islanders, such as themselves, trade came naturally, but he was unsure whether this was best managed ‘in a family’ or ‘in a confederacy’, suggesting he was not opposed to merchant companies in principle.36 On 14 June he was appointed to the committee to consider the bill to prohibit the residence of married men in colleges, and he spoke at the third reading seven days later. His last known speech of the session was on 23 June, when he supported the bill to reduce obstructions on navigable rivers and was named to the committee.37 This measure was of considerable interest to the Hereford corporation, which wanted to improve the navigability of the Wye.
In the second session Hoskins was appointed to 36 committees and delivered 23 recorded speeches. Named to help consider the revived bill to prohibit the residence of married men in colleges on 25 Jan. 1606, he spoke in favour of the measure at its third reading on 3 Mar., arguing that ‘virginity [is] a virtue’, and that the bill accorded well with the founders’ intentions. Robert Bowyer*, however, detected a whiff of Catholicism in these arguments, for many colleges had not excluded married men from teaching posts as such, but had merely reserved them for priests. To interpret this reservation to mean that married men were barred was to imply that marriage was incompatible with holy orders.38 It was perhaps to dispel suspicions about his religion that Hoskins subsequently began to take a more active interest in religious matters before the Commons. On 15 Mar. he spoke in favour of silenced ministers, stating ‘he hath a dull spirit, that hath no feeling in this cause’. However, he spoiled the effect by arguing that ‘we ought to be intercessors for such as are intercessors for us to God’, a rather Catholic conception of the functions of the clergy. Moreover, he proposed that the Commons should confer with the bishops, who were hardly likely to be sympathetic to silenced ministers.39 Despite his earlier criticism of the bishop of Bristol, Hoskins was a friend of the bishops, and indeed was on excellent terms with Robert Bennet, appointed bishop of Hereford in 1603, who stood godfather to his son. According to Aubrey, he composed an anthem to be sung in the cathedral at the assizes, much to the indignation of the puritan Sir Robert Harley*.40
On 30 Jan. Hoskins spoke at the second reading of the bill for the better execution of the laws to regulate purveyance, when he suggested that the measure should be extended to include saltpetremen. He continued to oppose composition, arguing on 25 Feb. that earlier Parliaments had chosen to pass bills to constrain purveyance rather than demand ‘an imposition of inheritance’. On 5 Mar. he warned that if a permanent tax was established to compensate the king it would be ‘doomsday’ before any inconveniences were found. He also criticized the archbishop of Canterbury for citing a passage from the Old Testament in support of purveyance at a conference the previous day, as the text in question referred to an evil king, sent to punish the people. He ‘concluded merrily, viz. that if we proceeded in a composition he feared we should do like unthrifts who begin with a rent-charge, then proceed to a mortgage, and in conclusion depart with the land itself’. Two days later he was answered by Sir Francis Bacon*, who denied that there was any proposal to create a permanent system of composition, and argued that whatever was agreed could be reviewed by the next Parliament.41
In the supply debate on 10 Feb. Hoskins called on the House ‘not to knit the two ends of a Parliament together’, suggesting that he thought it was too early in the session to grant taxation. He nevertheless supported the appointment of a subsidy committee, to which he himself was named. On 12 Mar. he voiced fears about the manner of the Common’s proceedings. Protracted discussions in committees and conferences, he argued, ‘doth but disclose our hearts and make ourselves to be singled out’. Moreover, the twin propositions that ‘a king may not want’ and his subjects should not examine how money voted by Parliament is spent, taken together, would mean that ‘the fortunes of the crown may run a circle and whatsoever we give, we cannot give that [which] may suffice’. When Bacon reported proposals to vote three subsidies and six fifteenths on 25 Mar., Hoskins remarked ruefully ‘the king in possession of the subsidy, he would not have the subject to say the bramble was more merciful than the shepherd’.42
Hoskins seconded Sir Herbert Croft’s motion for the bill to limit the powers of the Council in the Marches when it received its second reading on 21 February. He stood on its head the argument that the bill encroached on the royal prerogative by asserting that the Council’s failure to release prisoners on writs of habeas corpus was itself a breach of the prerogative, ‘for they will not suffer the king to free the person of a subject whom they have unjustly imprisoned’. However, at the third reading on 10 Mar. he seems to have confined himself to confirming that a certificate from Hereford, supporting the jurisdiction of the Council, bore the mayoral seal.43
Much of Hoskins’ energy in the second half of the session went into the ultimately fruitless pursuit of William Tipper, the notorious concealed lands patentee. In the committee of grievances on 7 Apr. he detailed Tipper’s modus operandi. First, victims were told that ‘you hold such lands, that title is defective’, and then they were told to produce their deeds. Once these were presented, Tipper would ‘seeketh how a quirk may be found in the title’. Hoskins also accused Tipper of altering official records to substantiate his claims, and alleged that, despite having promised to raise for the king £100,000 in five years, he had paid into the Exchequer only £1,000. He delivered in these charges in writing on 16 Apr., when the Speaker read them to the House, and on 28 Apr. he was appointed with Nicholas Fuller and Humphrey Winch to draw up articles against Tipper. After Tipper answered the articles on 3 May, Hoskins complained that Tipper had referred to him as ‘the gentleman’, whereupon Tipper was forced to apologize. Further proceedings were referred to the committee for grievances, but Hoskins failed to get Tipper’s patent included in the grievances petition. He renewed the attack seven days later, moving for a committee to examine Tipper. The House agreed to this request, but Hoskins himself was not appointed.44 Hoskins also spoke ‘merrily’ against the grant of the greenwax fines in the duchy of Lancaster to Sir Roger Aston* on 9 Apr., and contributed to the debate on the subject six days later.45
Hoskins was more actively involved in legal measures in the second session than he had been in the first. He was one of those who debated the bill to improve jury selection at its second reading on 31 Jan., when the measure was rejected, and on 31 Mar. was appointed to help consider a bill to restrict the use of writs of error to delay executions in cases of debt. When a different bill dealing with the same problem received its second reading on 6 May, it was referred to the former committee, when it was noted that Mr. Hoskins had custody of the original. Three days Hoskins reported the executions bill, and another for the regulation of the lower branch of the legal profession, both of which were passed. In addition, on 8 May, he reported a bill concerning the fees demanded by clerks for copying legal records, when he successfully recommended that the measure should sleep until the next session.46
Hoskins was appointed to the committee to consider the revived bill against obstructions on navigable rivers (7 February). When this measure was reported on 13 Mar., he successfully opposed a proviso proposed by Sir Robert Johnson. Hoskins again clashed with Johnson on 11 Apr., when the bill to rebuild Chepstow bridge was reported. Johnson offered a proviso ‘for Monmouth’, possibly to exempt the town from payment, whereupon Hoskins asked for another to ban the townsmen from using the bridge. Both provisos were rejected. On 24 Mar. Hoskins spoke in favour of the bill to prohibit the export of undressed coloured cloths, and on 1 Apr. he contributed to the debate on the bill concerning lodgers. On 8 May he reported the bill to compel exporters of rabbit skins to purchase their wares from artisan skinners. On 16 May he was among those ordered to attend the conference with the Lords concerning the bill to allow the export of beer, which he reported three days later, and on 26 May he took part in the debate on the amendments proposed by the Lords. On 22 May he contributed to the debate at the second reading of the bill to amend clauses in the 1604 Act for continuing expiring statutes concerning the sale of wine and sanctuary, and was named to the committee.47
Hoskins adopted a lower profile in the third session, when he was named to 18 committees and made five recorded speeches. He played only a limited role in the debates concerning the Union, when his principal aim seems to have been to delay proceedings. On 15 Dec. he urged deferment of the discussion of escuage until after Christmas, and on 2 Mar., concerning the question of the nationality of those Scots born since the Union of the crowns, he told the House: ‘this point being in question in Edward III’s time, it held seven years before it received a decision’, suggesting he was in no hurry to resolve the matter.48
Hoskins was described as ‘merry Mr. Hoskins’ in the irreverent poem, the ‘Parliament Fart’, which he may have had a hand in writing, but despite having established a reputation as the jester of the House, his work on the legislative business of Parliament showed his serious side.49 On 28 Nov. 1606 he unsuccessfully opposed the bill to secure grants of lands to corporations at its third reading. The following day he reported a bill to enable a Surrey landowner to sell part of his estates to pay his debts, asserting that it was ‘as honest and just a petition, as ever was preferred in Parliament’, whereupon the measure was ordered to be engrossed. The same day he also reported the bill to protect the charter of the Exeter French Company from the provisions of the statute passed in the previous session for free trade with Spain, Portugal and France, which was also ordered to be engrossed. On 3 Mar. 1607 Hoskins reported a bill sponsored by Sir John Acland* to appropriate the income from an Exeter prebendary to support a lectureship and grammar school at Columbjohn in Devon. The bill was intended to endow a chapelry in a large parish and was supported by the local bishop. Hoskins supported a bill for an exchange of land between All Souls College, Oxford and Sir William Smith* at its third reading on 8 May. Three days later, when the bill for the true making of cloth was reported, Hoskins spoke in favour of a proviso to enable the freemen of Hereford, Leominster, Bewdley and Coventry to make cloth even if they had not been apprenticed to the trade. However this proviso attracted opposition and after a long debate the House agreed to re-commit the bill to reconsider the proviso. The following day, despite his previous support for the proviso, Hoskins reported that the committee thought that it should be struck out, which was agreed and the rest of the bill passed.50
In the fourth session Hoskins was appointed to 49 committees and made 30 recorded speeches. Having signed a letter in January 1608 from the Herefordshire magistrates to Sir Herbert Croft thanking him for his agitation against the Council in the Marches, he seconded, on 15 Feb. 1610, Croft’s motion for a committee to hear complaints against the Council in the Marches, declaring that it was an old rule that ‘the king of England cannot foreclose his subjects of a trial at Common Law’. On 18 July Hoskins supported Croft’s motion for the removal of the Marcher shires from the jurisdiction of the Council in the Marches in the Great Contract.51
In the debate which followed the earl of Salisbury’s (Robert Cecil&dagger) appeal for supply on 19 Feb., Hoskins argued that it was not yet time to enter into consideration of subsidies ‘for that the former were not yet paid, and to grant subsidies in reversion was not usual’. In the subsequent discussions in the committee of the whole House he proposed eliminating private profit from wardships, ‘that the whole benefit might come to the king’s purse’, but found no seconder. Hoskins remained reluctant to vote supply throughout the session, and on 13 June was among those who argued that consideration should be deferred until the House had received an answer to their grievances. Asserting that to vote one subsidy would be ‘little service to the king’, he nevertheless moved that James should ‘to take notice of our general inclination, by some means’.52
As the Great Contract began to take shape, Hoskins declared, on 23 Feb., that ‘many grievances [are] unproper for the exchange with the king’, and instanced the case of silenced ministers. He went on to draw the Commons attention to The Interpreter, a work published in 1607 by John Cowell, professor of Civil Law at Cambridge, in which it was argued that legislative power lay entirely with the king. Hoskins drew particular attention to Cowell’s claim that the king allowed Parliament to participate in the legislative process in return for subsidies. Hoskins may have believed that in preparing to trade the redress of grievances for an augmentation of the king’s revenue the Commons was implicitly accepting Cowell’s interpretation of the constitution. He also complained about ‘preaching against prohibitions’ and ‘books in print against the Common Law’, and concluded by moving that ‘some may be appointed to censure the books that are touching the common laws’, whereupon the Commons referred his motions to the committee for grievances. The following day Hoskins produced ‘many other treatises containing as much as D[octor] Cowell’, when he was also appointed to a sub-committee of the grievances committee to consider Cowell’s book. On 5 Mar. he assisted Sir Henry Montagu in reporting a recent conference to the Commons on the same subject. On 7 Mar. he was appointed to prepare for a second conference, but Salisbury subsequently announced that the king would suppress the book.53
During the debates on the Great Contract, Hoskins showed a concern to preserve good relations with the Lords. When the Commons debated whether to thank the king unilaterally for permission to negotiate the abolition of wardship alone or join with the Lords, Hoskins argued (14 Mar.) that they should have ‘tender care’ of relations with the upper House. However, he opposed a ‘free’ conference with the Lords on the Great Contract on 4 May, because the Commons’ delegation ‘may mistake in answering’. The Commons’ representatives were accordingly authorized only to hear what the Lords had to say. Although Hoskins was named to the committee to report back, the actual task of delivering the report fell to Sir Henry Montagu. However, the House thought the report inadequate, especially as Montagu omitted to mention that Archbishop Bancroft had stated that ‘many speeches [in the Commons] are both of spleen and from such green and young heads as being judicially weighed will prove to be nothing else but froth’. The committee was consequently ordered to prepare a fresh report. Hoskins suggested that this should be read by the clerk, but in the event he delivered it himself.54
On 7 May Hoskins contributed to the debate concerning the inclusion of the abuse of royal proclamations among the Commons’ grievances. After asserting that his right to speak freely about this matter in Parliament was safeguarded by statute, he argued that the issue touched ‘freehold, the conscience, the life of men’. On 19 June he delivered to the committee for grievances a paper concerning the use of demurrers by the crown, which was subsequently included in the Great Contract.55
In the debate on the Great Contract on 13 July, Hoskins urged the House to ‘confer with the country’, and argued that it could not proceed ‘without reference to the country’, or without the ‘major part’ of its own Members, many of whom were absent at the assizes. He complained that they were ‘declaimed against in both universities’ and from ‘pulpits’, but he regarded the ‘groans of the people’ as a ‘greater accusation’. In the supply debate the following day, Hoskins revealed that a letter had been written addressed to the chairman of the grievances committee, Richard Martin, and to himself in Martin’s absence, by ‘one Fotherby’, detailing criticisms of the Commons in recent orations by the vice-chancellor of Oxford and the proctor of Cambridge. Hoskins, however, stated ‘that Fotherby was not known to them’, and warned the House that the letter might be mischievous. Hoskins again spoke on the Contract on 20 July, and the following day he contributed to the debate ‘concerning the manner of [the] levy’.56
Hoskins spoke twice in the debate following the message delivered by the Speaker on 11 May forbidding the Commons from discussing impositions. The content of his first speech is unknown, but in the second he proposed a committee to discuss ‘how far to treat of impositions’. He also demanded to know ‘how far our Speaker may deliver from the king, or to the king from us’, as the Commons had learned that the message relayed by the Speaker had not come from James at all but from the Privy Council. During the ensuing commotion the House resolved to receive no further messages unless they came directly from the king himself, a decision which both James and Hoskins interpreted to mean that the Commons was no longer willing to receive any messages from the Speaker. However, whereas James reacted with horror to this apparent decision, Hoskins thought that it would be better if the Speaker was no longer employed as a messenger. On 14 May he argued that the talents of the Speaker were necessarily fully employed in the service of the House, and that ‘to have him divided and his wits occupied with messages from the House to the king, and again from the king to the House cannot but exceeding disadvantage the House’. However, he was reluctant to pursue this matter further ‘because the king is a god on earth’. After denying that it was ‘in our thoughts to refuse any message which he shall send by our Speaker’, he suggested that the Commons ask the king to refrain from employing the Speaker frequently as a messenger, but instead to use him ‘but rarely and upon important consideration’.57
The dispute over the Speaker’s role as a messenger reflected the Commons’ anger that James would not permit the House to discuss his legal right to levy impositions. Hoskins, however, kept this matter firmly in view, arguing on 18 May that Members had a right to ‘look into’ impositions, not because they wished to judge the issue but in order ‘to inform ourselves’. He also criticized the use of ‘phrases of infinite and inscrutable’ to describe the prerogative, arguing that ‘he that looks for them here upon earth, may miss them in heaven’.58 Under mounting pressure, and with the promise that the Commons would resume the negotiations over the Great Contract, which had stalled, the king finally agreed on 25 May to allow discussion of impositions. Accordingly, on 6 June, Hoskins moved for Robert Bowyer* and his colleagues to help search the records in the Tower, presumably to find precedents. Moreover, on 28 June he delivered a lengthy speech on the king’s right to levy impositions. As he viewed his task as being to ‘remove impediments lying in the way’, he addressed those arguments used in support of impositions one by one. Though willing to concede that customs duties were the ‘inheritance’ of the crown, he denied that this necessarily meant that the king could ‘improve’ them without the consent of Parliament. He also asserted that the king’s right to prohibit the import of particular goods did not give him the right to impose. Furthermore, the king could not levy ‘reasonable’ impositions without recourse to Parliament, not least because neither he nor the courts could know what profits might reasonably be expected from overseas trade. If the king did have a right to levy impositions then his power was unlimited and he could levy whatever he liked, and ‘an unlimited power is contrary to reason’. In fact, he went on, ‘the king cannot impose against the Common Law, common peace and common profit’. This last point implied a measure of reciprocity, for all customs duties, including impositions, were a toll, and a toll was only valid if the parties paying it received some benefit. Hoskins conceded that the king owed his regal power to God, but ‘the actuating thereof is from the people’. He concluded by citing precedents for questioning legal judgments in Parliament.59
Writing to his wife during the fourth session, Hoskins lamented that he could not follow his colleague Anthony Pembrugge and return to Hereford, ‘such is the reward of a man’s service as is among carters for horses and oxen he that draws well shall never [be] out of the plough or team’. Indeed, were he to leave now he would be ‘discredited for ever: for there are divers bills of the Parliament committed unto me which are to be sat upon, some tomorrow, some on Monday’.60 In total he reported seven bills in the session. The first, on 1 Mar., was for the sale of land belonging to William Essex of Lambourne in Berkshire, which he also defended at third reading five days later. He reported two further private bills, one to confirm a Chancery decree in favour of the heirs of Rowland Elrington of Woodford, Essex (18 May), which was recommitted and again reported by Hoskins three days later, and the other to enable a Huntingdonshire landowner to sell his lands (13 July), although the latter had been entrusted to Sir William Strode on 25 June.61
On 9 Mar. Hoskins reported the bill to restore the monopoly of the Horners’ Company, which had been ‘unwittingly repealed’. These poor men practised, he declared ‘a trade of antiquity, singularity, honesty . Never any complaint against them £200 will buy all their stuff’. Three days later he reported the bill for the maintenance of Minehead harbour, which was ordered to be engrossed, as was the bill to punish deceits and frauds committed by combers and spinners of wool, which he reported on 24 May. His interest in the cloth trade was further demonstrated on 19 July, when he announced that someone had established the manufacture of good quality ‘Spanish cloth’ he thought this matter ought to be examined by ‘some clothiers of this House’ so that it could be encouraged.62 On 5 July Hoskins was named to the committee for the bill to confirm the title of contractors for crown lands. Five days later he asked the House to rule whether the bill should include provisions to confirm estates on composition for defective titles, a motion which was presumably intended to put a spoke in Tipper’s wheel. The House agreed that ‘all upon good consideration’ should be confirmed. Two days later Hoskins reported the bill with amendments and additions, but it was recommitted after opposition from Sir Henry Poole.63 Hoskins spoke against the bill for ‘Mr. Davison’ at its second reading on 27 March. This measure may have been a revised version of the 1606 bill which had sought to assure the clerkship of the treasury to William Davison&dagger, now dead, and his son Francis. Hoskins also spoke at the second reading of the bill to reduce the cost of proving wills in the prerogative court of Canterbury on 3 Apr., but it is not known to what effect. On 6 June he introduced a bill to prevent obstructions on navigable rivers, but this failed to progress. A fortnight later he spoke in favour of the sumptuary bill, arguing that excessive spending on clothing was draining the country of money. If the bill pass, he declared, ‘then when we see any man in gold and glittering apparel, we may say he is of the prince’s blood or a fool by Act of Parliament’.64
Hoskins spoke twice on the Bridgnorth election dispute. On 9 Mar. he attacked the return of Sir Francis Lacon on the grounds that the indenture lacked the town seal and the bailiffs’ signatures. Five days later he opposed Sir George More’s request to allow the bailiffs to return home for the assizes as the election had not yet been examined. He opposed granting privilege to the son of Robert Berry of Ludlow, arrested by the constable of Newgate ward for ‘late walking’, arguing that there was ‘no privilege in matter of peace’. When a bill was brought from the Lords on 5 May with the title written within it rather than on the back, he advised that the matter be referred to the privileges committee.65
Hoskins made three recorded speeches in the poorly recorded fifth session. On 3 Nov. he urged the Commons to re-examine the list of grievances that were to be rectified in the Great Contract, and called on James to guarantee that his ministers observed the rule of law. Such an assurance was a precondition for concluding the Contract, as it would allay the fear that prerogative finance might later be revived. Four days later Hoskins opposed proposals to confer with the Lords about formulating a common answer to the king’s message about the Contract on the grounds that the issue was one of supply and therefore concerned only the Commons. He urged that the question of whether to continue with the Contract should be put to a vote. He made his final speech of the session on 23 Nov., when he observed that the question of giving was inextricably bound up with the question of how to improve the Crown’s financial situation. The solution to the king’s financial problems, he asserted, lay with James himself, for the ‘well-governing of revenue hath been a means used by princes to supply his revenue’. A major cause of the Crown’s difficulties were those who had ‘begged so much of the king’. Hoskins coyly claimed not to know who were responsible, but it was clear that his intended target was the Scots, since he added that the culprits were neither English, Irish nor Dutch. Indeed, his remarks left the French ambassador expecting a massacre of the Scots, such as had befallen his own countrymen in the Sicilian Vespers in 1282. Hoskins called for the grand committee to investigate, for those responsible ‘be such as hold a consultation how to draw out of this cistern as fast as we fill it’. The ‘royal cistern had a leak, which till it were stopped, all our consultation to bring money unto it was of little use’. Following the dissolution, Hoskins was among the ‘free speakers’ questioned by Salisbury for their failure to support supply.66 By now he was well established as a leading figure in the metropolitan intelligentsia, being a member of both the Mitre and Mermaid circles and (according to Aubrey) acquainted with ‘all the wits then about town’. However, he never lost contact with Herefordshire, purchasing the freehold of his house in Hereford in 1609.67
Re-elected for Hereford in 1614, Hoskins made 22 recorded speeches and was appointed to 16 committees, among them the privileges committee (8 April). On 9 Apr. he spoke in the debate concerning the Northumberland election dispute, defending the House’s right to summon the sheriff, arguing that if it left the matter to the law courts, ‘a gap [will] open to infringe all liberty of free election’.68 In the debate on undertakers (2 May), Hoskins argued that the rumour of a secret undertaking to manage Parliament ‘proceeds from a rotten foundation of popery’, and moved for the matter to be recommitted. Two weeks later he defended Sir Henry Neville I’s paper of advice to the king, which had sparked off the rumour, arguing there ‘was no reason to bar the king to call unto him any of his subjects and to make use of their understanding’.69 If Hoskins did not believe in a secret undertaking, he was no less scornful of the widespread fear that if the Commons refused to vote money there would be ‘no more parliaments and the king’s prerogative shall be extended’. There was ‘no cause of fear of not calling of Parliament’, he claimed, entirely incorrectly, on 5 May, because ‘the king gains by them, not the subject’. Had not James said in his opening speech that if the prerogative were to extend too far then it would be time ‘for calling a Parliament of love’?70
On 10 May Hoskins argued in favour of restrictions on the influence of the duchy of Lancaster in elections, which he stated was ‘against the right of this House and kingdom’, and ‘a greater power than [electors were] able to resist’. However he defended the conduct of the chancellor of the duchy, Sir Thomas Parry*, suggesting that the election letters which bore his signature might have been written by a servant and that Parry may not have read them before he signed them.71 When his friend Richard Martin* offended the House on 17 May, Hoskins was flabbergasted, and declared that he spoke ‘with as much perplexity as if he himself [was] arraigned here’. However he showed no such hesitation after Bishop Neile attacked the proceedings of the Commons. ‘We have done nothing here but to show our love and bounty to the king’, he declared on 25 May. Both Scotland and Germany had ‘swept away greater mitres than his’, and ‘he admired nothing in the bishop but his ignorance’. The Commons would be entirely justified in petitioning the king ‘to seize his bishopric for seven years to supply His Majesty’s wants’. The following day he approved a message to the Lords complaining of the bishop’s speech, but announced that he did not expect justice from them.72
Hoskins was in no hurry to vote supply. Responding to speeches from the privy councillors detailing the king’s debts on 12 Apr., he moved to defer the question on the grounds that attendance was still thin, the House had not been called, and Members had not taken communion together.73 On 5 May he suggested that those who urged supply were like ‘interfering horses, that the faster they go the more they lame themselves’. He further asserted, quite falsely, that the Parliament was ‘called to give counsel not give money’.74 Hoskin’s unwillingness to grant supply contrasted with his eagerness to destroy impositions. He joined the attack on 18 Apr., arguing ingeniously that impositions were ‘very prejudicial to His Majesty’ because they ate into merchants’ profits and so discouraged merchants from trading. This in turn diminished the Crown’s receipts from customs, and forced the king to sell off his lands to contractors, who thereby made massive profits, none of which were taxed. Those who purchased this land subsequently found their titles questioned by Tipper and other hunters for concealed lands, while those merchants who had given over trade turned to money-lending instead, so that ‘the people are impoverished by usury’.75 Following this criticism, Hoskins played a leading role in the Commons’ attempt to prove that impositions were unlawful. On 12 May he and Thomas Wentworth I were assigned to discuss the legal status of the customs between the reigns of Edward III and Mary at a forthcoming conference with the Lords. The same day Hoskins moved the House to order a search of the records in the Tower and Exchequer and to make copies of relevant documents. He himself had ‘many records very material that have not been examined’ which he wished to have copied at the House’s expense. The next day he proposed that the Speaker should write to Sir Robert Cotton* ‘to require him to deliver a record he had which would be very material and give great help to their arguments’. Cotton was then ill at Cambridge but he sent the key to his study to Sir Edward Montagu* and his brother Henry Cotton, and on 20 May Hoskins was appointed to assist both men in searching for ‘for such records as should be of benefit to the commonwealth’.76 The search of the Crown’s records may not have gone as well as Hoskins hoped, for on 16 May William Hakewill announced that he had heard that records had been found ‘to cross the opinion of this House’. Hoskins, too, announced that there were ‘doubts which yet himself stood unresolved of’. However these were evidently quickly satisfied, as two days later Hoskins helped to rebut Thomas Hitchcock’s defence of impositions.77
Throughout the Parliament Hoskins showed little interest in the continuing problem of the Council in the Marches. However, on 20 May, after Sir Edwin Sandys called for a copy of the letter written by the king to Sir Edward Phelips* in November 1610, which had promised to allow the power of the Council to be challenged in the law courts, Hoskins proposed that Sir Robert Phelips* should be sent to request the letter from his father.78 Hoskins reported only one bill in 1614 - that concerning the manor of Painswick in Gloucestershire - although he frequently spoke in bill debates. When Sir Maurice Berkeley moved for a committee to draft a bill to eradicate abuses in the ecclesiastical courts on 12 Apr., Hoskins also proposed reforms, ‘that men may not be called for small matters and dismissed without costs if wrongful, and that excommunication be not awarded so ordinarily or upon so small causes’. When Sir Francis Bacon reported the bill concerning Princess Elizabeth’s marriage to the Elector Palatine on 13 Apr., Hoskins argued against adding an amendment to provide for any children in the event that she later remarried. He declared that he hoped she would only remarry with the consent of the king or his successors, but he nevertheless feared ‘danger in respect of the House of Austria’. At the second reading of the bill against false bail three days later, Hoskins denied Sir George More’s claim that the penalty it imposed was too great, as it was better to ‘save a soul and lose a body’. At the second reading of the bill to prevent the wasteful consumption of gold and silver (5 May), Hoskins successfully moved that Christopher Brooke’s sumptuary bill should also be read again as both measures were ‘of one nature’ and should be committed together. Appointed to the resulting committee, he also worked with Brooke on 14 May during the debate on the second reading of a bill concerning the Court of Wards, which both men attacked for taking away fees from the clerks of petty bag. On 31 May Hoskins moved to commit the bill to prevent brewers and tipplers from becoming magistrates and opposed another that sought to repress drunkenness.79
When the king complained on 27 May about the Commons’ decision to suspend all business, Hoskins declared that ‘some, not knowing the Parliament courses, do misinform the king’. Claiming that it has always been a privilege to parliament to choose in what business we will proceed’, he then proceeded to accuse ‘an honourable person’. Secretary of State Sir Ralph Winwood, who was sitting in Parliament for the first time, correctly interpreted this to mean himself.80 On 3 June Hoskins delivered the most notorious speech of the Parliament, during the debate concerning the king’s message threatening dissolution unless the Commons voted supply. He began by stating that he at least was prepared to see the Parliament dissolved rather than submit to the king’s demand, for just as he had been the last to speak in the previous assembly so he was prepared to be the last to speak in this. He then reminded the House of the king’s opening speech, in which James had declared that this Parliament would be ‘the Parliament of love’, for it was now clear that ‘the arguments that are made are rather of fear’. It was no way for the government to obtain supply for it to say that it would not hear the Commons’ complaints against impositions. The king should be urged to suppress impositions and to prevent the sale of Crown lands, for ‘if the wealth of the kingdom be carried away without consent of Parliament we shall not be able to supply His Majesty’. Hoskins further insisted that all strangers should be sent home, as they were both riotous and dissolute. Here, as in his speech of 23 Nov. 1610, he was implicitly attacking the Scots, of whom the most influential and most hated was the royal favourite, Robert Carr, earl of Somerset. According to one newsletter writer, Hoskins added that ‘he could wish His Majesty would be more reserved of his honours and favours to strangers, and more communicative to those of our native country, especially in weighty affairs of state’. In the most sensational part of his speech, Hoskins referred openly to the Sicilian Vespers and also (according to one report) the more recent St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. Although one diarist failed to understand the implications of this statement, better-informed listeners could hardly have failed to interpret it as a threat that unless the Scots went home they would be massacred.81
On 6 June Sir Guy Palmes moved to punish or clear those Members who might be thought to have ‘spoken any unbeseeming words of the king’. Hoskins felt this motion ‘concerned him in particular’, as he had heard that he had been accused, although he denied having spoken ill of the king, ‘which to do would be more to him than to strike himself with a deadly blow’. However, when he asked for the question to be put it was objected that no specific accusation had been made. Hoskins’ friend Sir Henry Wotton then asked him to explain what he had meant by ‘Sicilian Vespers’. Hoskins seems to have been unusually hesitant in his reply: one diarist was unable to hear his response and another recorded that he replied vaguely that ‘he had not private intent in it and he thought the story was known to many and he meant it general’. Though clearly inadequate, this response cleared the way for the question to be put, whereupon the House resolved that none thought that he had spoken ‘offensively’. The following day Hoskins announced that he was willing to support a vote of one or two subsidies on condition that if impositions were not abandoned by October the money would be refunded. However, his suggestion was ignored. As the Commons continued to debate granting supply without conditions Hoskins complained that ‘this question cannot be’. Shortly thereafter the Speaker was prevented from putting the question and the Parliament was dissolved.82
The Privy Council issued a warrant for Hoskins’ arrest on the day of the dissolution, and he was committed to the Tower on 8 June. According to Wotton, Hoskins was subsequently asked by the Council ‘whether he well understood the consequence of that Sicilian Vesper’, whereupon he answered ‘that he had no more than a general information thereof, being but little conversant in those histories that lay out of the way of his profession’. Recent historians have found his claimed ignorance incredible given the extent of his education. However, Hoskins’ training was in the classics and English law rather than European medieval history and Wotton, who had been a contemporary of Hoskins at Oxford, thought that he had answered ‘very truly’. Hoskins stated that Dr. Lionel Sharpe, a minister who had previously been chaplain to Henry, prince of Wales, had ‘infused these things into him, and had solicited him to press them in the Parliament’. Sharpe had moreover assured him of the support of the earl of Northampton, and had thereupon produced Sir Charles Cornwallis* to confirm this claim. As a consequence of Hoskins’ testimony, Cornwallis and Sharpe were both sent to the Tower on 12 June.83
In a letter to the king, which was subsequently widely circulated in manuscript, Cornwallis claimed that, having failed to find a seat in Parliament himself, he had given notes of a speech he had prepared to Sharpe, who had recommended Thomas Hitchcock as suitable Member to deliver it. Hitchcock had refused to do so, however, whereupon Sharpe approached Hoskins. However, Cornwallis claimed that Hoskins’ ‘Sicilian Vespers’ speech ‘neither agreed with mine in form or matter’. This seems to have been true, for apart from a general opposition to the Scots, there is little in common between the reports of Hoskins’ speech and the text in Cornwallis’ letter. Whereas Cornwallis wanted to restrict new arrivals from Scotland, and confine all new appointments to the king’s bedchamber to Englishmen, Hoskins wanted those Scots already in England to be sent home. The discrepancies cannot be cannot be entirely attributed to judicious editing on Cornwallis’ part because he admitted to having included some very controversial matters, such as silenced ministers and the marriage of Prince Charles, about which Hoskins seems to have said nothing during the 1614 Parliament.84 Nevertheless it was soon commonly believed that Hoskins had been part of a wider conspiracy to wreck the 1614 Parliament, instigated by the earl of Northampton. On 30 June John Chamberlain wrote that Hoskins ‘was emboucht, abetted, and indeed plainly hired with money to do that he did’. Sharpe told the Privy Council that Cornwallis had promised to pay Hoskins £20 as compensation for his loss of earnings during the session. Cornwallis denied this, but stated that Sharpe had tried to persuade him ‘with examples of others that he said would give’. Hoskins subsequently wrote that the earl of Somerset had ‘promised to speak for me but spake against me’, suggesting that he may have been one of the ‘others that he said would give’. However, it is unlikely that Somerset, as a Scot, would have supported Hoskins’ Sicilian Vespers speech, especially as he seems to have been one of its principal targets. On the other hand he may have favoured Cornwallis’ version, which was only directed against future newcomers from Scotland and was designed to make the king ‘better enabled to reward those of that Country that are here already in his service’. In the end, it would seem, Hoskins’ speech was not very different from the one he had delivered in November 1610. If he was bribed, then he was merely being paid to say what he would have said anyway.85
Hoskins, Cornwallis and Sharpe languished in prison for a whole year. In his petition for release, Hoskins acknowledged ‘his offence to be heinous, as in his too inconsiderate speeches in the last Parliament, in meddling with matters that became him not in alleging impertinent histories, and that one of damnable memory and detestable consequence’. However he attempted to mitigate his offence by asserting that he had ‘conceived not [the Sicilian Vespers] when he spoke, nor intended to mention [them] when he first stood up’. In June 1615 he was released from the Tower but was required to remain in London until term ended and was forbidden to go to the Middle Temple or Westminster Hall. Thereafter he was to stay within five miles of his house in Hereford. However these requirements were relaxed on 21 July, when he was permitted to return to London to practise his profession. It was reported that neither Hoskins nor Cornwallis would ‘burn their fingers with Parliament business’ in future.86
It was almost certainly in the aftermath of the Addled Parliament that Hoskins lost the deputy stewardship of Hereford. Nevertheless, despite falling out with the Scudamores, he retained support in the city, as James Clarke* visited him in the Tower and John Warden* and Clarke’s brother John subsequently helped him ward off a fortune-hunting suitor for his orphan niece.87 This continued backing explains why Hoskins was elected mayor of Hereford in 1616. On learning of this development, James I cancelled the election, declaring that Hoskins had ‘notoriously fallen into our heavy displeasure’ and alleging that he had been elected by ‘faction and underhand practice’. Hoskins was again in trouble the following year, being ‘brought into question for a rhyme or libel (as it is termed)’. However his friend Sir Lionel Cranfield* interceded with Buckingham to obtain his release. In 1618 he demanded £92 from Hereford as back pay for 900 days’ parliamentary service. The corporation petitioned Chancery, but Ellesmere’s successor, Sir Francis Bacon*, ‘answered he would give them no help, neither in law nor equity’, and the corporation were obliged to levy a double subsidy on the wards to meet the expense. When the third Jacobean Parliament met Hoskins, who was not one of its Members, wrote to his wife that ‘all my labour is to repress the Lower House from questioning my commitment the last Parliament, and to keep them from reviving the king’s displeasure’. Nevertheless he also found time to pen a verse satire on the fall of Bacon. Thanks to the patronage of Buckingham, Cranfield and the president of the Council in the Marches, William Compton, 1st earl of Northampton, he was rewarded with an appointment to the Welsh judiciary in June 1621. Meanwhile, his private practice proved sufficiently remunerative for him to be able to purchase an estate at Moorhampton, eight miles north-west of Hereford.88
Hoskins paid his contribution to the Forced Loan in October 1626, but absented himself from the meeting of the Herefordshire Loan commission on 13 Feb. 1627.89 His failure to attend was undoubtedly popular, and may have helped him to secure re-election for Hereford in the following year. However, chastened by his previous experience, he adopted a more moderate stance than he had previously on the extent of the royal prerogative.
Over the course of the 1628 session Hoskins was appointed to seven committees and made 13 speeches. In contrast to the previous parliaments in which he had sat, he played no recorded part in debating or reporting any legislation. Hoskins’ first speech, on 26 Mar., concerned the Privy Council’s power to confine men without showing cause. He defended this power, arguing that those suspected of treason could lawfully be held during examination of the cause and that those who were ‘dangerous to the state, or a servant of the king that hath misbehaved himself’ could lawfully be excluded from Court. When the committee of the whole House appointed a sub-committee of all the lawyers to hunt for records concerning the liberty of the subject two days later, Hoskins was among those assigned to search the Tower. In the subsequent debate on 3 Apr. concerning the grand committee’s resolution in respect of the liberty of the subject, he argued for the words ‘without his own consent otherwise than by Act of Parliament’, to be inserted in the clause prohibiting prerogative taxation.90
In the supply debate on 2 Apr., Hoskins argued that ‘knowing our rights, we shall be better enabled to give’. He therefore urged that grievances and supply should go hand in hand, observing that ‘two legs go best together’. However on 4 Apr. he argued that the Commons should grant supply quickly and unconditionally, as this was the ‘readiest way’ to ease the burden of billeting, for the king would be unable to pay his soldiers until he had been voted money. To those who sought to force the king to accept a detailed confirmation of the subjects’ rights and liberties, he stated that the king’s messages ‘amounteth to as much as Magna Carta’. Consequently, he argued, ‘we ought to satisfy the king’s desires’ and vote five subsidies.91 On 2 May Hoskins opposed proceeding with a Remonstrance, ‘because that implies a protestation and claim of a right, which we have no cause to complain of’. Reminding his listeners that ‘the eyes of our enemies are upon this Parliament’, he urged the Commons to trust Charles I, whom he described as a ‘good, godly, gracious king’, and to build on his promises by confirming Magna Carta by statute, which he said ‘we desired . in former parliaments’. This speech evidently found little favour with the House, as Sherfield records that ‘after a while [he was] called to the point’. Four days later Hoskins tried to refute the argument put by Edward Littleton II, that because numerous previous statutes had confirmed Magna Carta a further confirmation would produce no benefit. Hoskins argued that just as moribund statutes were sometimes revived by royal proclamation, so too they could be revived by parliamentary confirmation. He conceded that this course of action would be ‘lame’ unless it were also accompanied with the resolutions passed by the Commons, but he suggested they should nevertheless ‘go lame [to the king] and get a blessing’.92
During the debates on the Lords’ amendments to the Petition of Right, Hoskins argued (13 May) that the proposed alteration to the clause concerning the Forced Loan - that the Loan had been initiated ‘upon urgent and pressing causes of the state then alleged’ - was unnecessary as he ‘never heard any man that did say he had wrong done unto him, say it was done upon necessity’. Six days later he supported Phelips’ motion that the Upper House should signify whether it agreed in principle to proceeding by petition before the Commons debated the Lord’s additions. However he also proposed that once the Lords and the king had assented, a saving clause should be inserted for ‘the right and seignory of our king . "in all things"’. The following day he argued that the Lords’ proposal to change the description of the oath administered by the Forced Loan commissioners from ‘unlawful’ to ‘not warranted by the laws and statutes of the realm’, made little difference, for ‘to say "not warranted" is as much as stark "unlawful"’. Two days later he was appointed to chair the committee of the whole House to consider the Lords’ amendments, and on 23 May reported that the committee had appointed Sir Henry Marten and John Glanville to deliver the Common’s arguments against the amendments. He was subsequently mentioned only twice in the surviving records of the session, once later that same day, when he was appointed to committees to consider the bill to confirm letters patent granted by James I to the earl of Bristol (Sir John Digby*), and once on 16 June, when he was appointed to consider a private estate bill.93
In the 1629 session, Hoskins was named to no committees, but spoke three times at the committee for religion. On 31 Jan. he pointed out that ‘the Papists and we agree all in scripture, and differ only in the interpretation’. Convocation had no power to make law, and he affirmed that the term ‘the Church’ meant all believers. On 14 Feb. he demanded that the attorney-general, (Sir) Robert Heath*, explain the failure to convict the Jesuits taken at Clerkenwell in 1628. Three days later he exclaimed that he had never known ‘a whole college of Jesuits’ to be allowed bail. After comparing members of the order to ‘wolves’ and ‘foxes’, he declared that ‘the people would not let them to bail’. On 20 Feb. he was given leave of absence to hold his circuit, and accordingly left no further trace on the parliamentary records.94
Hoskins retained office until ‘a massive country fellow trod on his toe’ at the assizes or sessions in 1638. Gangrene set in, amputation came too late, and he died a few months later at Moorhampton, jesting valiantly to the last. He was buried in the church of Abbey Dore, which had recently been restored by Sir John Scudamore. His brief will, drafted on 31 Jan. 1636, bequeathed all his estate to his son Bennet, who sat for Herefordshire in the Protectorate Parliaments.95 Anthony à Wood described Hoskins as ‘the most ingenious and admired poet of his time’ and stated that he left a book of poems in manuscript ‘bigger than those of Dr. Donne’. However this volume was lent out by his son, who subsequently proved unable to retrieve it. Only a small amount of Hoskins’ verse was printed in his lifetime, though some was widely circulated in manuscript. What survives has been described as ‘deservedly uncelebrated’.96
The Devil You Know: The John Hoskins Murders
Located in the southwestern portion of the state, Adams county is the least populous county in Iowa, containing just under 3700 people. It’s very rural, and is comprised of rolling hills and rich green fields.
People still wave to you in the street, or raises an index finger in the ‘farmer’s wave’ as they pass by on a secondary road. Going there is like travelling back in time about thirty years and catching the scent of my youth, before the cities began to swell and grow out into to the country areas I used to roam.
In Adams County, the towns are smaller, more intimate. Many of the people there grew up together. They know each other are familiar with one another. While in the modern era this might not be such a big deal, in pioneer times people relied heavily on each other for mutual aid and support.
Pioneers often found themselves on the very edge of civilization. There were no cities or towns the pioneers were there to build them. Sometimes the nearest settlement was several hours away, and travel could be difficult, to say the least. Your fellow settlers quickly became your best option.
Your neighbors could give you a hand if you or one of your family got sick or hurt. They could provide companionship when you tired of talking to either your corn or your cow. You could barter items and labor back and forth when you couldn’t travel to town. Very rapidly, complex and close relationships formed between settlers in these frontier areas.
The frontier could be a dangerous place, especially on farms. People got burned, cut, gored, trampled, and caught in machinery. A doctor had to be summoned in person, which meant that someone had to ride to town to bring them back, all the while hoping that they weren’t out tending to someone else.
In the meantime, the injured person would have to wait. In an emergency, time is of the essence. You might need help right now, not three hours from now. In cases like this, your neighbor could help take care of you until the doctor arrived.
As time passed, new innovations and technology began to find their way into rural households across Iowa. One of the most important of these was the telephone. Neighbors still relied on each other, but now they were able to place a call to someone year-round from the comfort and privacy of their own home.
As she ran down a frozen Adams County road in 1919, fifteen-year-old Irene Hoskins probably didn’t care about any of this. The only thing that she could think of was to get as far and as fast from her house as she could possibly manage.
Irene’s head pounded and ached with every heartbeat. Her lungs burned with exertion and with the cold January air. None of that mattered, though. She needed help. More importantly, her family needed help, and she was determined to get it for them. On she ran, shoes pounding on the road as she made her way steadily toward the home of Allen Taylor, her nearest neighbor.
The Taylors must have been shocked to see the girl stumble up to their door. Young Irene was bleeding from a gash in her head, and she was obviously terrified.
Catching her breath, Irene told them something that chilled their blood faster than the January air outside. Her family needed help, she said, because her father had just tried to kill them. After a few more quick breaths, Irene began to tell her story.
Things had been slightly awkward in the Hoskins household that morning. John Hoskins and his wife, Hulda, had been arguing all morning long.
John Hoskins. Courtesy of Adams County Free Press Hulda Hoskins. Courtesy of Adams County Free Press
The family had been planning to drive to Greenfield, Iowa that morning and visit John’s parents. Everyone was happily looking forward to the trip, and all the necessary plans and preparations had been made.
The next morning, John’s previously jovial mood had quickly soured.
His stepdaughter, Gladys, 19 and his daughter, Irene, 15, had woken up late. They had dressed quickly, but still hadn’t managed to get downstairs and seated at the breakfast table until about 6:30 am. The only reason they had managed that was because John had screamed up the stairs at them to wake up and get moving.
John, his stepson Roy, 16 and son, Merlin, 12, had not only been up early but had managed to take care of all the farm chores. John had wanted to leave early that day, and when he found out Gladys and Irene were still asleep, he was livid. Almost right away, he blamed Hulda for the problem and began to yell at her.
It was unbelievable how angry he got. Hulda argued back for quite a while, but, after a while, she stopped. This was the way that their arguments usually progressed, with Hulda arguing hard in the beginning, and then eventually just not talking. She let John’s anger run its course, knowing that, sooner or later, he’d stop.
John had a temper. Hulda knew that, and, perhaps, if he had only gotten angry occasionally, might have understood it better. But sometimes he would argue over things that didn’t really matter. He would rant and scream, and refused to see reason.
And John was so intense when he was upset. He didn’t lose his temper as much as he flew into a rage. His temper was like an inferno, consuming everything it touched.
When he got like this, John had said that he should kill them all and be done with it. He had threatened this before, but they were just words. Or at least she hoped they were.
Just that past year, John had completely snapped, striking Roy and knocking him to the ground. He then jumped on top of the boy and began choking him. When Irene and Hulda tried to interfere, he hit them, too. John had, thankfully, stopped.
The incident had scared them all. They still felt a little of that fear when he lost his temper, things hadn’t been the same for all of them since the strangling incident with Roy.
Hulda and John had gotten married in 1915, just a few years before. Both of them had been married before, and both of their spouses had passed away.
Hulda’s first marriage hadn’t been this dramatic. Hulda had grown up around Adams County, and she and the children were well liked. They had plenty of friends who were willing to help out, not to mention her in-laws. Both Roy and Gladys were both popular, helpful, and stayed out of trouble.
Hulda and John had probably known each other for a while. John was from a well- respected family, and was also well-liked in the community. He was a kind, thoughtful man who worked hard and went to church every week. It seemed like an ideal match and, in the beginning, it was. Time had changed that.
When John had finished his rant, Hulda took a can and went outside to get some lard from the separator house.
From left: Roy Campbell, Merlin Hoskins, Gladys Campbell, Irene Hoskins (seated center). Courtesy of Adams County Free Press
The others sat themselves around the breakfast table, helping themselves to the pancakes Hulda had prepared for everyone. There was an awkward silence in the air after all of the arguing. John sat, anger radiating from him in waves.
The children were silent. The only sounds that came from the kitchen were the sounds of people chewing and the tell-tale click of silverware on plates. Normally, John would say grace over the meal, but it was obvious he was far too upset for that. Instead, he sat and fumed.
The children knew that John’s anger would eventually pass. It always had before, and, like a summer storm, all they had to do was put their head down and wait for it to pass. Everything was going to be alright.
As they sat in awkward silence, John carefully set down his fork, stood up, and walked over to the back door. Opening it, he leaned out and grabbed the piece of broken wooden buggy axle that he used to mix the hog feed.
Calmly, he stepped behind Gladys, and swung it hard at the girl’s head. It connected with a sick crack, and her whole body went slack. Gladys fell off her chair, her body hitting hard against the kitchen floor. John immediately swung again, and with another dull crack, connected with Roy’s head.
Irene and Merlin got up, their chairs making screeching marks as they slid across the floor. Both of them ran out of the kitchen as fast as they could.
Irene sprinted around the furniture in the living room, threw open the front door, and ran out into the front yard. She stopped for just a moment, looking behind her. Her breath caught in her throat as she saw, to her horror, John standing right behind her.
Irene told him that he had done enough, and pleaded with him to stop. Her father ignored her. With a wild and savage look on his face, John struck her hard on the side of the head. She fell to the cold grass, bleeding from a large gash from where he had struck her. Without a word, John turned and walked away
While Irene had gone out the front door, Merlin had left the house and made his way into the back yard. As he ran, he heard his father call out to him. Merlin stopped, then slowly turned around. John was standing on the porch, staring at him with wild, hateful eyes.
John told his son to leave. He told Merlin to go and tell his Uncle Charley what had happened that morning. Merlin had already known that it was a bad idea to disobey his father. After what he had just seen, he was probably too terrified not to.
Merlin went back into the house, got his coat, then went to the barn and saddled his horse.
About then, Hulda came back toward the house, suspecting nothing of what had happened. As she came through the kitchen door, she saw Gladys and Roy, her two beloved children, lying motionless on the kitchen floor.
Her mind had just begun to process what she was seeing when she suddenly felt a searing pain above her eye. John had been waiting for her, and struck her hard as she stepped into the kitchen. Hulda’s vision swam, and she stumbled out onto the back porch. She tried to take another step, but lost her balance and fell off into the yard.
Smiling with savage glee at having finally hitting his wife, he looked over at the prone forms of his stepchildren. John wasn’t finished with them yet. He walked over and stood over Gladys, taking the axle into both hands.
Raising the club high above his head, he brought it down into the girl’s head. He did this again and again, smashing Glady’s skull into a misshapen mass.
Satisfied, he walked over to Roy. As he set his feet, ready to swing the axle again, the teenager regained his senses. Feebly, he reached up and grabbed at John, trying his best to fight back. But Roy was just too injured and John was just too strong.
Shrugging off his stepson’s last, desperate attempts to defend himself, John swung again. Up and down the axle went, each hollow crack spraying blood and brain around the room. Finally, mercifully, Roy died.
While John was murdering her stepbrother, Irene slowly stirred. The blow her father had dealt her was a severe one, but it hadn’t killed her. She tried to stand, but a wave of dizziness and nausea washed over her. She fell to her knees, breathing hard. Taking a deep breath, she tried again, but with the same result.
Irene’s own father had just tried to kill her. Irene knew that she couldn’t stay there. Summoning all her strength, Irene braced herself against the pain and managed to rise to her feet. Taking a few tentative steps forward, looking around to see if John was anywhere to be seen. As she did, she saw Hulda laying in the back yard.
As she made her way over to her stepmother, Irene could hear sounds coming from inside the kitchen. It sounded like someone was moving around a lot, or maybe moving furniture around. What she didn’t know, what she couldn’t know, was that the sounds were probably the exertions of her father murdering her stepsiblings.
Irene knelt next to Hulda, and could see that she had also been attacked. Hulda was hurt, but was still able to speak. Gasping, she told Irene to run, to go and get help. Irene nodded, then ran across the yard and down the road toward her nearest neighbor, Allen Taylor.
John, finished with his grisly task inside, stepped out into the yard, looking down at his wife. Looking him in the eye, Hulda told him, plainly, that he had killed her two children. John, eyes still full of wild, savage fury, responded that yes, he had killed them. Now he was going to kill her, then commit suicide.
As he was saying this, Merlin rode out of the barn on his horse. He must have felt helpless as he saw his father, standing over Hulda, raises the bloody axle over his head. Young Merlin must have known exactly what John was going to do, but was powerless to stop it. He looked away and began to ride quickly towards his uncle’s farm.
When Irene had finished, Allen Taylor was stunned. He had known the Hoskins family, had been on the farm. It was almost too much to believe. Taylor could sort through all of that later, though. Hulda and her kids needed help, and he had to make sure that they got it.
Walking over to the telephone, he picked it up and called the doctor and the sheriff. They said that they would make their way out right away. As Taylor went to put on his coat, his wife began to call other people in the farm neighborhood to let them know what was going on.
One of these individuals was Chester Woods, who had saddled his horse and ridden to the Taylor farm. Allen met him at the front gate, and told him what Irene had told him. After they had finished talking, Woods decided to ride up the road to the Hoskins’ and see for himself what was happening.
The John Hoskins House. Courtesy of Adams County Free Press
A short while later, he rode into the Hoskins’ yard. Woods dismounted, tied his horse, and walked to the kitchen door. As he approached, Hoskins stepped outside, holding a straight razor. When he saw him, Woods back away, keeping his distance from John.
Woods asked John what had happened, and Hoskins said plainly that he and his family were going to head to Greenfield that morning, but he had killed them all instead. He continued, telling Woods that he had been living in hell for the past three years, and was through with it. John was going to kill himself and be done.
As John talked, Woods noticed the still form of Hulda Hoskins lying in the grass just a few feet away.
Pausing for a moment, Hoskins produced a checkbook. He told Woods that he owed someone for corn, and asked him if he would take his check to that person and settle the debt.
Woods told him that he didn’t want any part of it. He had confirmed at least part of what Taylor had told him. Woods got on his horse and left, passing Allen Taylor on his way out.
As Taylor began to approach the house, Hoskins came out to the yard gate, holding the straight razor. He told Taylor the same story that he had told Woods: he had murdered his family and was going to kill himself. He added that he wasn’t going to go to prison.
Hoskins also tried to get Taylor to take the check for the crop payment, and also gave him five dollars to pay for some work that Mrs. Taylor had done for the family.
Taylor noticed that although Hoskins spoke normally, he seemed very nervous. As he watched, Hoskins went to Hulda’s body and picked up her arm, letting it fall back down to the ground. With that, he went back into the house.
Taylor left, making his way back home to wait for more help.
As the day passed, other neighbors came and spoke with Hoskins as well. He gave them the same story, and he also warned them that he had a loaded shotgun just inside the door, and he would use it on them if they attempted to detain him.
More and more neighbors showed up at either the Taylors farm or went directly to the Hoskins’. When one man made to approach the kitchen door at the Hoskins place, someone warned them that if they tried to go inside, then they would be shot.
The man told them that he wasn’t afraid, and another man agreed with him. Together, they approached the home, where they were met with something unexpected. John was lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen doorway, unmoving. He had slit his own throat and cut one of his wrists. By all appearances, he was dead.
By this time, a doctor had joined the mob of neighbors outside the house, and he was called to examine John’s body. After a cursory examination, he stated that John when past saving. When he did so, however, he noticed that John’s hand and leg had begun twitching. John Hoskins was still alive.
They carried Hoskins inside, where the doctor began to treat his wounds. As he worked, the other men stared in disgust at John’s grisly handiwork.
The kitchen was a charnel house. The room was splattered with the blood of the poor, innocent people lying dead on the floor. Hulda was dead outside, only a few yards from her children. Blood formed a pool on the grass near her body, and a smear of red stained the corner of the house. One man took a blanket and covered her corpse.
Shotgun shells were scattered across the floor, and the gun itself was loaded and propped in the corner near the door. One man opened it and carefully unloaded it.
As he examined John’s wounds, it soon became apparent to the doctor that his wounds were mostly superficial. Neither cut had done any significant damage, and certainly not enough to threaten his life. Looking at the sheriff and the other assembled men, the doctor told them that John would soon recover.
These men had just been standing in the blood-soaked kitchen, bearing witness to the aftermath of Hoskins’ terrible crime. No doubt some of them were disappointed to hear that Hoskins was going to live. He was promptly arrested and taken to the Adams County Jail in Corning.
A coroner’s inquest was held soon after. Officially, a coroner’s inquest was a hearing in which the coroner could determine an official cause of death. This would usually include an examination of the corpse and extensive interviews of people who were involved, including responding doctors, police officers, and eye witnesses. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the coroner’s jury would make a ruling on the cause of death and whether or not a trial should take place.
Unofficially, it was a way to gather everyone together while the crime was still fresh in their minds and be interviewed by authorities. In murder cases, it could be an important first step at either finding an unknown culprit or convicting a known murderer.
Although he had already admitted to several people that he was the killer, John Hoskins would still have to stand trial. If he pled guilty, then he would be sentenced and go to prison for a length of time to be determined. But if he pled Not Guilty, then it would be the burden of law enforcement officials and the county prosecutor to prove that he had, indeed, committed the crime he was accused of.
In that eventuality, evidence would have to presented, and a good amount of it could be produced during a coroner’s inquest.
Several neighbors were called to testify as to their actions and movements that day. A physician who had examined the bodies stated to the assembled people that Hulda, Roy, and Gladys had all been beaten to death, their skulls crushed by multiple blows to the head from a blunt instrument. Gladys had been attacked so ferociously that her brains had literally been beaten out of her head.
Perhaps the hardest testimony to listen to was that given by Irene Hoskins, who was forced to recount the events of that awful morning once again.
Very quickly, a picture of the life of John Hoskins began to emerge. Although he had seemed fine to all of his neighbors and people in town, those who were closer to him saw a different side of him. He was a man capable of violent mood swings and possessed a fearful temper who had, on multiple occasions, threatened to kill his family.
At its conclusion, the coroner’s jury found that Hulda Hoskins and her two children, Roy and Gladys, had been beaten to death by John Hoskins.
Hoskins was immediately brought to trial. Surprisingly, he entered pled Not Guilty to the murder of his family. This came as a shock to some, seeing as how he had already confessed to the murder on multiple occasions, even recounting the grisly crimes in vivid detail for his jailers.
Many people, including the prosecutor, expected that he would try and convince the jury he was insane. If Hoskins was deemed to be insane, that would automatically mean that he was incompetent to stand trial, being completely unable to understand the difference between right and wrong.
His motivation for the murders would have been driven by an inherent mental illness, and wouldn’t have been the conscious choice of a sane individual. Hoskins would avoid the death penalty and would be sent to a secure mental hospital until he was deemed sane enough to stand trial.
It was a logical defense. After seeing the crime scene, or just hearing about it, it wouldn’t be hard for someone to believe that Hoskins must be insane to do something like that.
Most people didn’t believe it. They felt that Hoskins was perfectly sane, using his suicide attempt as proof.
They claimed that if he would have been insane and wanted to kill himself, then Hoskins would have kept cutting at his wrist or neck until he had died. Because the marks were non-life threatening, that meant that he hadn’t really meant to commit suicide.
The prosecutors, for their part, were determined to get a solid conviction and get justice for the Hoskins family. From the moment the case began, both law enforcement and the county attorney took their time, gathering every scrap of evidence available to them. In fact, they took so much time that people began to complain that they were taking too long, and they needed to convict him immediately.
Most, if not all, the critics believed that John Hoskins was perfectly sane and guilty as sin. They believed that the longer the prosecution took, the more money that it was going to cost the county. Why spend so much for such an obviously guilty man?
But convictions take time. One tiny loophole or detail gone unnoticed could mean the difference between a successful conviction and John Hoskins either going to a mental hospital or walking away a free man.
So, they took their time, methodically calling witness after witness, sparing the assembled jury no detail of the horrific murder of Hulda Hoskins, Roy Campbell, or Gladys Campbell.
Merlin was called to testify, describing what he had seen, and the conversation he had with John before riding off out of the farm yard. Once again Irene talked about how her father had attacked her, leaving her for dead. Neighbor after neighbor was called to give their testimony, each one filling in more and more details of that horrible day.
John Hoskins had a lot of time in jail to think about his situation. As the evidence began to mount, he must have begun to feel less confident of his chances of winning. Not only that, but he must have started having second thoughts about dying.
If he was convicted and found sane, as seemed more and more likely, then he would be hanged. The hangman would make sure he was dead this time there would be no missed arteries or second chances.
John sent for his attorney, and told him that he wanted to change his plea to Guilty. He may have to spend the rest of his life there, but he would still be alive.
John wrote a confession to murdering Hulda, blaming his behavior on a series of injuries that he had sustained, starting in about 1914. He claimed that in that year, a large wooden pole had fallen out of its storage place in his barn loft, striking him on the head. Allegedly, it caused him to have pains in his head for years afterward.
In late 1918, shortly before the murders, John stated that he had suffered a bout of the Spanish Influenza, a deadly disease that burned its way across the globe that year, killing millions. The high fever that he had must have done something to his mind.
In essence, Hoskins’ confession claimed that he had been temporarily insane, but now he was clear-headed and understood what he had done and the gravity of those actions.
The judge was notified of the plea change, and court was called into session. John was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs, accompanied by his father and Merlin. His attorney officially entered John’s plea, handing over the written confession.
The prosecutor asked that the death penalty be given, while the defense reiterated John’s claims of temporary insanity and asked that he be spared a death sentence and be given a prison term instead.
Throughout the entire process, John stood by without an ounce of emotion. He showed no regret, no sadness, no guilt. When the judge asked if he had anything to say, John simply replied, “No.”
John Hoskins was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa.
Irene and Merlin went to live with relatives, and grew up to have families of their own. Merlin became a farmer, while Irene was a beautician. While Merlin stayed in the area, Irene and her husband eventually moved to California.
John settled well into prison life, and became a model prisoner. He earned a great deal of trust with the prison guards and staff, and earned reasonable rights and privileges because of it. This eventually included being allowed to drive a prison truck between the prison and the city of Fort Madison, presumably under guard.
Over the next several decades, Hoskins tried to earn parole a few times, but was denied. In the late 1940’s, about thirty years after the murders, Hoskins and his attorney attempted to have two indictments for the murders of Roy and Gladys Campbell removed from his record.
These indictments had been filed against John in 1919 by the assembled grand jury, but were ignored after his guilty plea and official confession to Hulda’s murder. However, they were still active and pending, simply having rested dormant in the three-decade interim.
Hoskins was driven back to Corning to stand trial for these two murders by an Iowa State Penitentiary guard. Several locals turned out to see the proceedings, including many who had been present at the original trial.
Ultimately, Hoskin’s attempt backfired. He was found guilty on both counts of the first-degree murder of Roy and Gladys Campbell. John was sentenced to two more life sentences and was immediately returned to the state prison after the trial was over.
In late 1958, his original life sentence was commuted to a term of years served. The following year, John Hoskins was granted parole at the age of seventy-eight, having spent forty years in prison.
Before his release, people asked him where he would go. Shockingly, he told them that he was going to stay with his daughter, in California.
Irene, the same daughter who had watched John attack her family on a cold January morning forty years before, and who had nearly become one of his victims herself, had agreed to allow him to come to California and stay with her.
John had become accustomed to his life in prison, and didn’t want to live in California anymore. He begged to be returned to Iowa, and the state obliged, sending an official to pick him up.
John Hoskins died in Fort Madison, Iowa in 1963. He was buried alone with a simple headstone that gave only his name, his birth date, and his death date. Looking at it, no one would know anything about the horrible murders he had committed in western Iowa.
In 1919, people in Adams County relied on each other depended on one another for help. They were their own best support network, and gave freely of their skills and abilities.
More importantly, they knew and trusted one another.
Hoskins was seemingly a loving and caring family man to many of those who knew him. He was hard working and successful, and he went to church often. His family was loved and respected throughout the region.
But, to those closer to him, John had a dark side. He had a nasty temper. He resented and hated his family, and even threatened to kill them. Unfortunately, John also proved himself to be a man true to his word.
People were shocked by his actions. He had grown up with them, worked beside them in the fields, and even sat next to them in church.
But he had fooled them all. They couldn’t see the seething darkness underneath his smiling façade. In January 1919, John Hoskins let that darkness come through. Looking at the horrible aftermath of the crimes committed by the man they had known for so long, so many friends and neighbors realized what a devil he truly was.
How DNA Helps Identify Common Ancestors
While it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the DNA results in depth, the most helpful genealogical information is contained in what is known as SNP analysis on the Y chromosome. A SNP is a single nucleotide polymorphism (i.e. a single amino acid at a specific location on the Y-DNA chain that has morphed to a different amino acid). These types of morphisms on the Y-DNA are passed on from father to son and, according to Family Tree DNA, happen about every 140 years or so. Therefore, they can hint at how long ago a particular morphism (SNP) occurred.
Three of the members of the Hoskins DNA project, who we know from the paper trail are descendants of Anthony (including this author), have all been identified as sharing a unique SNP that had to have come from Anthony. Three other individuals (two from England) do not share this SNP but do share other SNPs with the three individuals related to Anthony, so all six individuals therefore share a common ancestor who lived before Anthony. The number of morphisms that have occurred since the common ancestor indicates that this common ancestor existed perhaps 400 years ago, placing him in the 1500-1600s.
John Box Hoskins (1768–1824)
John Box Hoskins served as a clerk on the Columbia Rediviva, captained by Robert Gray, during a voyage to the Pacific Northwest from 1790 to 1793. He created the earliest known American-made map of the region, and his incomplete manuscript, Narrative, is one of four surviving accounts of that voyage.
We know few details of Hoskins’s life before he began his career in the Boston merchant house of Joseph Barrell, a principal owner of the Columbia. His father, who was involved in maritime commerce and shipbuilding before the Revolutionary War, was friends with Barrell, a wealthy ship owner and importer. John Hoskins was eighteen years old when his father died in 1786, and Barrell brought him into the business.
Barrell financed the initial voyage of the Columbia Rediviva, which traded in the Pacific Northwest during the first circumnavigation by an American ship from 1787 to 1790. Although Hoskins was not on that voyage, presumably he received an education in maritime commercial accounting and perhaps map-making during those years. He certainly earned the confidence of his employer. Prior to the Columbia’s second voyage in search of profit from the maritime fur trade, Barrell instructed Hoskins to “give us a faithful account of all transactions.”
In his Narrative, Hoskins mentions making maps of two harbors (neither map has survived) and his concern that his only reference maps were from “the late Capt. Cook whose voyages give little or no information respecting the greater part of the trading coast.” This comment reflected an opportunity that maritime fur traders hoped to capitalize on. Due to poor weather conditions, Cook had been unable to make observations of large stretches of the Pacific Northwest coast from approximately 45 ° to 48 ° (from Lincoln City to the Olympic Peninsula) and from 50 ° to 56 ° (from upper Vancouver Island to Sitka Sound). Every subsequent ship captain hoped to encounter unknown fur-trading Native communities along these uncharted sections of the coast.
Hoskins probably finished “A Chart of the Northwest Coast of America Sketched on Board the Ship Columbia Rediviva by John Hoskins 1791 & 1792” shortly after returning to Boston. The map measures thirty-seven by twenty-five inches and includes coastal features from Norfolk Sound (now Sitka Sound, Alaska) at 57 ° 10" in the northwest to Cape Orphod (Cape Orford, Oregon) at 42 ° 50" to the southeast. Hoskins drew the map on a Mercator projection with careful delineation of scale, coordinates, coastal features, and artfully rendered lettering. Topographical representation derived from combinations of Hoskins’s direct observations, reports from shipmates, and conjectural knowledge based on the long-standing belief in a water passage across the American continent.
At approximately 46 ° 12", Hoskins used bold lettering to locate Columbia’s River, the name bestowed by Robert Gray when he explored approximately forty miles upriver from May 11 to May 29, 1792. Hoskins illustrated a sandbar at the entrance to the river and used dotted lines to indicate the ship’s tracks. His sketch of the river’s features closely aligns with the only extant copy of Gray’s manuscript of Columbia’s River. Together, Hoskins’s and Gray’s maps are the first to apply this name and the first to illustrate any direct river course beyond the estuary from firsthand observations by Anglo Americans. The only earlier cartographic documentation of the river was Spanish mariner Bruno de Hezeta’s manuscript map of his off-shore sighting of the river’s mouth in August 1775. Hoskins also carefully located and named four prominent fur-trading communities along the upstream river with whom the Americans interacted: the Chenoke (modern Chinook) and Wahkiecum (Wahkiakum) on the north bank Catlahmat (Cathlamet) and Tlatsappa (Clatsop) on the south bank.
On his full map, Hoskins identified nearly half of the coastal locations by place-names of Native origin that represented distinct tribal groups and language families. In documenting the extensive and diverse Native presence, Hoskins’s map is unique among manuscript and published maps of the period.
Because the voyage of the Columbia to the Pacific Northwest was a privately financed commercial enterprise, the owners of the ship retrieved Hoskins’s journal and maps and never published them. His map was intended to be an economic document, and it served no purpose when Barrell did not send another ship to the Pacific Northwest. And with the publication in 1798 of the meticulous coastal surveys of George Vancouver’s expedition, Hoskins’s map had no lasting navigational utility. Mention of the map resurfaced briefly in 1852 during a congressional inquiry on the petition of Robert Gray's wife, Martha, and others seeking compensation and tracts of land in the Oregon Country related to family members' service during the second voyage. When the claim was dismissed, the map and petition documents languished in storage. The map was eventually re-filed in the National Archives, where it remained until it was noticed by Ralph Ehrenberg, who was part of the Cartographic Archives Division.
After returning to Boston in 1793, Hoskins married and had two children. To our knowledge he drafted no other maps. He remained in the maritime merchant business in Boston until about 1804, when as a widower he moved to Bordeaux, France, where he remarried. Little is known about his subsequent career. John Hoskins died near Paris in July 1824.Zoom image
Title page of Hoskins's Journal of a Voyage Around the World, 1791-1792.
Full journal here: https://digitalcollections.ohs.org/the-journal-of-a-voyage-around-the-world-by-john-hoskins-in-the-ship-columbia-rediviva Oregon Historical Society research Library, Mss957, Box 1, folder 9
Person:John Hoskins (23)
JOHN, Dorchester, came, perhaps, in the Mary and John, req. adm. 19 Oct. 1630, and was made freem. 18 May foll. rep. 1637 rem. to Windsor, there d. in May or June 1648, leav. w. and only s. Thomas to enjoy his est. as by his will of May 1648 appears in Trumbull, Col. Rec. I. 483. His wid. Ann, in will, 1660, gives to her s. Thomas, his ch. John, and the w. of David Wilton. JOHN, of what place is unkn. freem. of Mass. 14 May 1634.
FIRST RESIDENCE: Dorchester
REMOVES: Windsor 1635 .
BIRTH: By about 1588 based on estimated date of marriage.
DEATH: Windsor between 1 May 1648 (date of will) and 29 June 1648 (date of inventory) [Grant 80].
MARRIAGE: By about 1613 Ann _____ (assuming she was mother of all three of the children listed below). The language of the wills of John Hoskins and Ann Hoskins and the bunching of the estimated ages of the three possible children suggest that both Ann and John may have been married previously. .
COMMENTS: Given his presence at Dorchester in 1630 and his likely West Country origin, Hoskins presumably sailed on the Mary & John. Several sources state that Hoskins came from Beaminster, Dorset, but this remains only a suggestion. There were Hoskins families in Beaminster, and David Wilton, who married Hoskins's daughter (or stepdaughter) was from Beaminster, but as yet no solid evidence for this origin has been discovered [NEHGR 143:117-19].'
'John Hoskins dyed & was buried May 5 1648.'
'In his will, dated 1 May 1648 and proved on an unknown date, "John Horskins" bequeathed to "the Church £3 to be distributed by the deacons unto the poor" to "my servant Sammuel Rockwell if he be willing to serve in my house one quarter of a year after his covenant is out which he hath formerly made, my will is that at the end of his service he shall have £6 of me if not willing, then he shall receive £4 at the completion of his term of service already covenanted" list of debtors to "my wife and son Thomas" residue [CCCR 1:483-84 Manwaring 1:18].'
E-Learning: Understanding the COVID-19 Pandemic
Insights from Johns Hopkins University Experts
Insights From Johns Hopkins University Experts
Upon completing this course, you will be able to:
- Describe characteristics of the COVID-19 disease, including how it is diagnosed and treated
- Understand the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, and emerging trends throughout the world
- Discuss societal challenges raised by COVID-19 and opportunities to address them
Virology, Coronaviruses, and COVID-19
Diagnosing, Treating, and Preventing COVID-19
Medical Therapies and Vaccines in Development
Epidemiology: Understanding the Spread of COVID-19
John Hoskins - History
John Hoskins Stone (1750-1804)
MSA SC 3520-1199
Born in 1750 at Poynton Manor in Charles County to David and Elizabeth Stone, John Hoskins Stone grew up in a wealthy political family. His ancestor, William Stone, immigrated to the North American colonies in the 1628 and later served as Maryland&rsquos governor between 1648 and 1656. John Hoskins Stone had many brothers and sisters, most notably Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His other siblings were Walter, Frederick, David, Samuel, Grace, Elizabeth Anne, Catherine, Anne, Mary, Michael Jenifer Stone, and Daniel Jenifer Stone. 
Stone received an education in one of Charles County&rsquos private schools, studying law. He began a long career as a merchant around 1775, meeting George Washington for the first time in a few dealings. In his mid-twenties, Stone became politically active, taking part in Charles County&rsquos committee of correspondence. By 1774, hundreds of committees throughout the North American colonies exchanged letters between each other, establishing a united political organization working against the British and spreading information to the public. Stone also served as a delegate to the Fifth Annapolis Convention in 1775, and signed the Declaration of the Association of the Freemen of Maryland in July 1775. The Declaration approved &ldquoof the opposition by Arms to the British troops,&rdquo and announced that
WE do unite and associate, as one band,
and firmly and solemnly engage and pledge ourselves to each other,
and to America, that we will to the utmost of our power,
promote and support the present opposition, carrying on,
as well by Arms, as by the continental association, restraining our commerce. 
Stone&rsquos military career began in 1775, when he served as a captain in the Charles County militia. He soon decided to apply for captaincy in the First Maryland Regiment instead. &ldquoBeing very desirous of serving his country in the present state of danger,&rdquo Stone used Convention delegates from Charles and&hellipSt. Mary&rsquos Counties&rdquo as character references. Several delegates from Charles County served in the Maryland Line, including William Smallwood, commander of the First Maryland Regiment, and Francis Ware, a French and Indian War veteran who served as the First Regiment's lieutenant colonel. Stone's uncle, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, also served as the Maryland Council of Safety's first president and had been a powerful member of the gentry prior to the Revolution. Based on Stone's connections and previous service, the Convention commissioned Stone as a captain of the First Regiment&rsquos First Company on January 3, 1776. 
As a captain, Stone organized and supervised his company&rsquos troops, ensuring that his troops possessed the proper equipment and training. Stone&rsquos company trained in Maryland for the first half of 1776. In July, however, the entire First Maryland Regiment received orders to travel to New York. George Washington feared an imminent British attack and desperately needed reinforcements. 
The First Regiment arrived in time to participate in the Battle of Brooklyn on August 27, 1776. British soldiers outflanked the American soldiers in a surprise attack. The Marylanders retreated, fighting their way toward the Gowanus Creek. The First Company managed to cross the creek along with half of the First Maryland Regiment and escaped the battle, taking few casualties. Other companies, however, remained trapped and subsequently faced a deadly British onslaught. The Marylanders led several charges against the British, holding them at bay for a crucial period of time that saved Washington&rsquos army. 
Stone continued to serve with the First Company throughout the Fall of 1776, participating in the Battle of Harlem Heights in September. Alongside "upwards three hundred officers and soldiers of the Maryland Regulars," Stone fell ill "in the Jerseys." Smallwood worried that the lack of "Care" given to the sick soldiers "must hurt the Service upon the New Enlistments." While many Marylanders died to disease, Stone recovered. The Maryland Line went on to fight in the Battle of White Plains in late October, which resulted in heavy losses for the Marylanders. 
When the army was reorganized in December of 1776, Stone received a promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel. While other officers returned to Maryland to recruit soldiers following the end of their enlistments, Stone remained behind and took command of the regiment. Placed under Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, Stone led the few remaining Marylanders during the Trenton-Princeton campaign. Although the British mortally wounded Mercer during the Battle of Princeton, the American victories revitalized faltering morale. Under orders from Washington, Stone returned to Maryland in January of 1777 to gather new recruits. 
While in Maryland, Stone was promoted to the rank of colonel in the First Regiment in February of 1777 after Francis Ware declined the position and resigned his commission. Like Stone, Ware suffered from sickness in the Fall of 1776 and had not recovered by Spring of 1777. Colonel Stone participated in the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, a disastrous battle which allowed the British to capture Philadelphia a few weeks later. Stone protected American artillery forces during the battle, and avoided capture by British troops. 
The Maryland Line participated in the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777. Washington believed that defeating the British encamped at Germantown would allow the Continental Army to reclaim Philadelphia. General John Sullivan led the seven Maryland Regiments in a series of engagements with the British, but the British ultimately forced Sullivan to retreat, shooting a volley at the division. At some point in the battle, a bullet struck Stone through the ankle, breaking several bones. When other officers asked Stone to leave the field, Stone purportedly replied &ldquono, never while I can wield a sword, will I desert my corps and colors in the face of an enemy.&rdquo After taking heavy casualties in the thick fog, Washington ordered the Marylanders to retreat. 
Stone&rsquos wound prevented him from effectively leading his troops ever again. Left &ldquouneasy with his wound,&rdquo Stone returned to Maryland to recover, first in Baltimore and then at home in Port Tobacco. Unable to &ldquowalk without&hellipCrutches&rdquo and thus leaving his &ldquoRegiment [to] suffer much for the want of a field officer,&rdquo Stone urged Washington to accept his resignation. Washington refused, and instead accepted Stone&rsquos suggestion to give Samuel Smith control of the regiment. Smith never received the offer, however, and Stone continued to serve as a colonel in the First Regiment. During his time at Port Tobacco in 1778 and 1779, Stone continued to recruit soldiers and gather supplies for his regiment, and even issued marching orders. 
While Stone recovered, Colonel John Gunby of the Seventh Maryland Regiment began to press Washington to rearrange officer rankings for the Maryland Line. Gunby believed that he should outrank Stone due to Stone&rsquos inability to serve effectively. Stone refused to serve if Gunby outranked him, which soon became a reality when Gunby received precedence over Stone. Stone left the service on August 1, 1779. When Washington heard the news of Stone&rsquos resignation, Washington regretted &ldquothat any circumstances should exist to deprive the States of so good an Officer.&rdquo Although Stone requested the command of 2,500 militia intended to reinforce the Continental Army in July of 1780, officials rejected his request. Stone did not return to the military for the war&rsquos duration. 
Due to his service and wound, Stone still received half pay for his rank following his resignation. Stone continued to support Maryland&rsquos soldiers through recruiting and supplying new soldiers, providing food and clothing for the recruits. Beginning in 1779, Stone took a stronger interest in politics. Stone held a position on the Maryland Governor&rsquos Executive Council from 1779 until 1785, advising governors Thomas Johnson, Thomas Sim Lee, and William Paca. Stone owned a house in Annapolis during this period, and continued to hold property in Charles County. In February of 1781, Stone married Mary Couden. The pair later had several children together before her death in 1792: Robert Couden, Couden, Anne, and Elizabeth. 
Following the war&rsquos end, Stone also returned to his career as a merchant. Operating out of both Annapolis and Charles County, Stone and his family relied on connections made during the war to become one of Maryland&rsquos most profitable ventures. His brother, Walter, worked in the office of Robert Morris, the Superintendent of Finance for the United States. Returning to Port Tobacco in 1784, Walter used his connections in Philadelphia to found John H. Stone & Company with John and Michael Jenifer Stone. John Hoskins Stone approached Tench Tilghman, one of Washington&rsquos former aides-de-camp, quickly becoming Tilghman&rsquos preferred merchant in the region. Tilghman claimed that Stone had &ldquoit in his Power to produce more [tobacco] than any other man on this side of the Potomac.&rdquo Stone&rsquos merchant network linked the area between Alexandria, Virginia and St. Mary&rsquos County, Maryland to places like Annapolis, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, greatly expanding the region&rsquos trading network. Although Stone primarily traded crop products like tobacco, the company also entered the slave trade, selling and buying enslaved people. 
Stone used the money he earned from his company to buy land. Prior to 1779, Stone owned 250 acres in Charles County. Between 1779 and 1804, Stone bought or received at least 10,000 acres in multiple counties. He inherited 400 acres from his uncle, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, in 1781. By 1783, Stone owned 1,123 acres in Charles County alone, and another 235 acres in Anne Arundel. That number increased to 1,952 acres in Charles County in 1798. Stone also held 20,536 acres in Allegany County. Additionally, Stone owned 12 enslaved people in 1783, and continued to purchase slaves as his wealth grew, owning 24 slaves in 1790. 
In 1785, Stone declined serving in the Executive Council, successfully campaigning to become one of Charles County&rsquos members of the Maryland House of Delegates. Stone held this position until 1787. After a short break, Stone lobbied to become an agent selling confiscated British property for Maryland in 1789. Although Stone said that some politicians &ldquoseemed to think that [his] terms were too high,&rdquo Stone used his political connections to directly appeal to Governor John Eager Howard and his council. Howard served as a Maryland Line officer alongside Stone, and agreed to Stone&rsquos appointment. Stone received a &ldquo2% commission on the amount of sums paid into the treasury&rdquo from selling the confiscated land, which he thought &ldquomight be more advantageous&rdquo after his first year as an agent. Stone also secured the position of major general of the Maryland militia&rsquos First Division in 1794 during the height of the Whiskey Rebellion. Stone did not march to end the rebellion, and resigned his commission the following year. Stone continued his political career by serving on the Annapolis City Council between 1792 to 1795. 
Stone reached the height of his political influence in 1794 when he became the Governor of Maryland. As governor, Stone expanded the office&rsquos capabilities beyond its limited powers. According to the Maryland Constitution of 1776, the governor shared power with his executive council, reflecting fears over monarch-like abuses of power by a single powerful politician. The Constitution also provided more power to Maryland&rsquos legislative branch than the executive and judicial branches. Stone implicitly changed this relationship, for example, when he delivered an address to the Maryland legislature, commenting on what he believed to be important issues. Members of the legislative branch hoped &ldquothat future governors may follow [his] laudable example,&rdquo which &ldquoalthough not sanctioned by precedent, or enjoined by the constitution. certainly [had] their use.&rdquo 
Stone also supported the construction of Washington, D.C. Michael Jenifer Stone previously lobbied for the placement of the capital along the Potomac River, using his connections to sell land at inflated prices in Baltimore for his family&rsquos benefit during speculation over the capital&rsquos location. With funding running low, George Washington personally wrote to John Hoskins Stone &ldquowith much reluctance&rdquo in 1796, imploring him to bring the matter of loaning $250,000 before the Maryland General Assembly. Stone, a staunch Federalist, convinced the Maryland legislature to provide a loan of $150,000 in December of 1796, which increased to $250,000 by 1799. Stone continued to support Washington until he left office in 1797. Despite Stone&rsquos Federalist views, he also offered to aid Thomas Jefferson&rsquos presidential administration, regardless of Jefferson&rsquos role in founding and leading the Democratic-Republican party. 
Stone retired from politics after leaving the office of governor. He eventually decided to stay in Annapolis, where he died on October 4, 1804 &ldquoafter a long and painful illness.&rdquo Local newspapers described Stone as &ldquoan honest and honorable man, an inspired soldier, a firm patriot, and a liberal, hospitable, and friendly citizen.&rdquo Stone died without writing a will and left behind no inventory or probate, making it difficult to determine his exact wealth at death. 
-James Schmitt, Maryland Society Sons of the American Revolution Research Fellow, 2019, additional research provided by Cassy Sottile, Explore America Research Intern
 Harry Wright Newman, The Stones of Poynton Manor: A Genealogical History of Captain William Stone (self-pub., 1937), pp. 6-10 Edward C. Papenfuse, et al., eds, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635-1789 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), vol. 2, pp. 784-785, 788-789. &ldquoPoynton Manor&rdquo is also referred to as &ldquoPointon Manor.&rdquo
 Papenfuse, 784 George Washington, &ldquoWhere, how, or with whom, my time is Spent,&rdquo March 1775, Founders Online, National Archives General Ledger B, 1772&ndash1793, Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers, p. 190 Benjamin Warford-Johnston, &ldquoAmerican Colonial Committees of Correspondence: Encountering Oppression, Exploring Unity, and Exchanging Visions of the Future,&rdquo History Teacher, vol. 50, no. 1 (November 2016), pp. 83, 87-88 Journal of the Maryland Convention July 26 to August 14, 1775, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 11, pp. 3, 66-67.
 Proceedings of the Committee of Observation of Charles County, 26 February 1776, Maryland Sate Papers, Red Books, vol. 15, no. 198, MdHR 4578 [MSA S989-22, 1/6/4/10] John Hoskins Stone to the Maryland Convention, 1775, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, vol. 32, no. 14, MdHR 4603-14 [MSA S989-4646, 1/6/4/35] Muster Rolls and Other Records of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, p. 5.
 Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, NARA M881, from Fold3.com Reiman Steuart, A History of the Maryland Line in the Revolutionary War (Towson, MD: Metropolitan Press, 1969), p. 137 William S. Stryker, The Battles of Trenton and Princeton (Cambridge: Boston, Houghton, and Mifflin Co., 1898), p. 360 George Washington to John Hoskins Stone, 8 January 1777, Founders Online, National Archives.
 Compiled Service Records, NARA M881, from Fold3.com Steuart, p. 137 George Washington to Richard Peters, 12 May 1777, Founders Online, National Archives William Paca to Thomas Johnson, 3 September 1777, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, vol. 4, no. 95, MdHR 4561 [MSA S989-5, 1/6/3/38] Tacyn, pp. 143-146 &ldquoExtract of a Letter from Camp,&rdquo 5 October 1777, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, vol. 6, no. 36, MdHR 4564 [MSA S989-8, 1/6/3/41] Custis, p. 205.
 Thomas Jones to Thomas Johnson, 10 October 1777, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, vol. 14, no. 99, MdHR 4576 [MSA S989-20, 1/6/4/8] John Hoskins Stone to George Washington, 22 January 1778, Founders Online, National Archives George Washington to John Hoskins Stone, 8 February 1778, Founders Online, National Archives John Hoskins Stone to George Washington, 21 March 1778, Founders Online, National Archives John Hoskins Stone to Thomas Johnson, 29 June 1778, Maryland State Papers, Brown Books, vol. 5, no. 113, MdHR 4614 [MSA S991-7, 1/6/5/8] John Hoskins Stone to Thomas Johnson, 9 April 1779, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, vol. 25, no. 65, MdHR 4593 [MSA S989-37, 1/6/4/25] John Hoskins Stone to Thomas Johnson, 12 July 1779, Maryland State Papers, Red Books, vol. 25, no. 56, MdHR 4593 [MSA S989-37, 1/6/4/25].
 Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 18, pp. 376, 628 Papenfuse, p. 784.
 Jean B. Lee, The Price of Nationhood: The American Revolution in Charles County (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1994), pp. 226-227 Papenfuse, p. 784.
 General Assembly, House of Delegates, Assessment Record, 1783, Charles County, Seventh District, General, p. 11 [MSA S1161-5-4, 1/4/5/48] General Assembly, House of Delegates, Assessment Record, 1783, Anne Arundel, Town Neck Hundred, p. 3 [MSA S1161-1-15 Location: 1/4/5/44] U.S. Federal Census, 1790, Charles County Papenfuse, p. 785 Federal Direct Tax, 1798, Archives of Maryland Online, vol. 729, p. 1492.
 Papenfuse, pp. 784-785 John Hoskins Stone to John Davidson, 29 March 1789, Maryland State Papers, Blue Books, vol. 3, no. 26, MdHR 4642 [MSA 0990-4-55, 1/6/4/42] John Hoskins Stone to John Davidson, 8 April 1789, Maryland State Papers, Blue Books, vol. 3, no. 27, MdHR 4642-27 [MSA 0990-4-56, 16/4/42] John Hoskins Stone to John Davidson, 1789, Maryland State Papers, Blue Books, vol. 3, no. 28, MdHR 4642-28 [MSA 0990-4-57, 1/6/4/42] Adjutant General, Militia Appointments, 1794-1804, no. 1, p. 4, MdHR 1349 [MSA S348-1, 2/8/3/13].
This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital Today
Only three of the Hospital's historic Queen Anne style structures, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, still stand: the domed administration building (now named for Billings), flanked on either side by what were matching men's and women's private wards that face west on Broadway. (Originally called "pay wards," now they house portions of the Brady Urological Institute and the Wilmer Eye Institute.)
Today, The Johns Hopkins Hospital complex sprawls over 22 acres. Some 74 elevators connect medical units stacked up to 15 stories high, with infection controlled through means more sophisticated than anything Billings could imagine.An aerial view of The Johns Hopkins Hospital complex in East Baltimore.
World-renowned specialty centers — mini-hospitals in their own right — have risen from the site, including the Wilmer Eye Institute, the Adolf Meyer Center for Psychiatry and the Neurosciences, the Brady Urological Institute, the Heart and Vascular Institute, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Children's Center, the Meyerhoff Center for Digestive Diseases, and the A. McGehee Harvey Teaching Tower and Russell Nelson Patient Tower. Each major center is designed not just for diagnosis, treatment and care of patients, but to accommodate research and education to advance each field.
To the north, Clifton, Johns Hopkins' much-loved estate, remains largely preserved as a public park and golf course. His home now houses the pro shop.
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