287 Hawley v Futter

The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640.

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287 HAWLEY V FUTTER

Henry Hawley, Captain and Governor of Barbados, gent v James Futter of St Margaret, New Fish St, London

April - June 1638

Abstract

Hawley complained that Futter had said on 31 March 1638 at the Pope's Head Tavern, in the parish of St Mary Woolnoth, London, that 'I was a base cheating knave, and that I had none to wayte on me, but a hangman'. Futter complained that it was not he but John Holland that spoke the words in the libel, and that Holland had struck him, and abused him. Futter also claimed that he was Hawley's friend, having helped to sort out his disputes with Sir William Tufton, his predecessor as Governor of Barbados, and provided him with food when it was in short supply on the island. However, another version of his behaviour suggests that he quarrelled with Hawley, saying that 'the island did not belong to the king of England, nor to the Earle of Carlile, but to the king of Spayne', and that Hawley and others 'lived there but as rebells and if the Spanyards should come', then he 'would revolt and submitt to the Spanyards'. Hawley declared Futter mad, otherwise he would have hanged him for these words. No indication of sentence survives.

Initial proceedings

20/3f, Libel

1. Hawley had been captain-general and governor of Barbados in the West Indies for from 6 to 8 years, and his family had been gentry for up to 300 years.

2. Between February and April in the parish of St Mary Woolnoth, London, and the parishes thereabouts, James Futter said before several gentlemen 'that I was a base cheating knave, and that I had none to wayte on me but a hangman; and when another person blamed Futter for saying that I was a base cheating knave, James Futter answered that I had cheated'.

3. These words were provocative of a duel.

Dated 28 April 1638.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

13/2r, Personal answer

[This appears to belong to a separate case - possibly bought by James Holland against Futter - but apparently relating to the same dispute]

2. 'In his libel against James Futter exhibited into this court in easter terme last the title or addition of gentleman unto his name was not inserted'.

3. He did say within the time and place in the libel that James Futter was questioned in Barbados by Hawley and the councell there for saying that 'the Island did not belong to the king of England, nor to the Earle of Carlile, but to the king of Spayne', and that Hawley and others 'lived there but as rebells and if the Spanyards should come', then he 'would revolt and submitt to the Spanyards'. Hawley did say in the time and place in the libel that if he had not thought Futter was 'distracted hee would have hanged him for speaking the said words'.

Plaintiff's case

8/12, Defence interrogatories

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was the witness's age, occupation, and condition of living during the last seven years? How much was the witness worth in goods with their debts paid and to whom would they give the victory if it were within their power?

2. 'Do you know the parties in this suite or eyther of them and howe longe have you soe knowen them'?

3. Were any of the witnesses kinsman, dependant, related or indebted to the plaintiff and if so what sums were involved?

4. Was Hawley's witness John Holland 'an idle person and verie addicted to excessive drinking and droutes, of litle or noe creditt or estimation and very maliciously affected towards Futter, and soe comonly knowne, reputed and taken'?

5. Had the witness John Holland, within the months in the libel, struck Futter, or did he 'otherwise much abuse and vilifie' Futter 'by opprobrious and disgracefull wordes or speeches as you know, believe or have widely heard; and was he in your judgement divers times drunk'?

6. Was the witness present at the Pope's Head tavern, near the Exchange, London, around 31 March 1638 with 'James Futter, John Holland, Henry Stacy, one Marten a wax chandler and no one else'?

7. Was Holland at that time 'very much overtaken and distempered with excessive drinking and was it not Holland, and not Futter, that spake the wordes or used the wordes in the libel'? Did Holland then and there say that Futter 'had bribed one Wm Banester to sweare against Capt Hawley'?

8. Was James Futter a very good friend to Hawley while they both remained in Barbados, 'especially at the first arrivall of Capt Hawley in that island; and for 4 or 5 yeares followinge was not Futter a chiefe meanes or instrument next under God that saved the life of Hawley in that island; and did him many very extraordinary good services in the business betweene Sir William Tufton, the preceding governor, and Capt Hawley'?

9. Did Futter lodge and feed Hawley in his own house in Barbados, along with 6 or 7

10. Did Futter on Barbados 'lodge and dyett, or at his owne proper coast and chardge, provide meale dyett and lodgings for 300 or 200 persons whilest they labored and were employed in felling of wood and rearing of grownds for Capt Hawley'?

Signed by William Lewin

'Speak the truth of what you know, believe or have heard'.

11. Did Futter on Barbados 'furnishe Capt Hawley with a sowe greatt with pigg at a tyme when there wer noe swyne in that island but of the def[endan]t'? Did Futter also furnish 'Capt Hawley with plants, fruites and [provision] to stocke the said captayne'?

Introduced on 10 May 1638.

Defendant's case

12/2m, Defence [damaged]

On 31 March 1638 was present in the Pope's Head taverne... there alsoe present the said James Futter, John Hunt... Henry Stacie... said taverne in the company and roome where they the said Holland, Mr Futter and Mr Hunt... the said John Holland was more distempered with drinke and grone with excessive drunkenness... said Mr Futter had bribed one Wi... Banister to sweare against the said...'

14/2e, Plaintiff interrogatories [damaged]

1. The witnesses were warned of the penalty for perjury and bearing false witness. What was the age, occupation and condition of the witness during the last ten years? How did the witness know the parties?

2. Was the witness kindred, servant or a dependant of Futter?

3. Was he a subsidy man, or was he taxed for ship money? How much was he worth his debts paid, and which side would he give victory to?

4. Had Hawley been 'Captaine Generall and Governor of the Isle of Barbadoes' for 8 years [for] the Earl of Carlisle, and was he a gentleman descended from an ancient family?

5. Was the witness present at the Pope's Head Tavern, in St Mary Woolnoth parish, London between February and April last? Did Futter say to, or of, Hawley there 'in an angry manner' that 'he was a base cheating knave', and that Hawley 'had none to wayte on him'? Did not some bystanders reprove Futter, only for Futter to respond defiantly?

6. Were Hawley's witnesses Henry Stacy, John Holland and Richard Byker 'of honest conversation', and would they depose truly?

7. Was Holland 'not a man of good estate' with land in Barbados and overseas worth between £2,000 and £3,000?

8. If the witness deposed that Holland spoke 'uncivil words' against Hawley, they were to be asked whether Holland was merely repeating Futter's words, and whether Holland was very angry with Futter for speaking them?

9. Was Martin Kirke, Hawley's servant in the room when Holland was upbraiding Futter? Had Holland told Kirke to tell Hawley what Futter had spoken of him?

10. Had Holland and Futter for 1 to 3 months since the 31 March last behaved in a 'loving and friendly manner' towards each other?

11. If the witness deposed he was at the Pope's Head tavern 'about the last daie of March last past', they were to be asked whether Mr Richard Byker was present in the same room or close enough to hear Futter's words against Hawley?

Introduced 4 June 1638.

Signed by Arthur Duck.

Notes

On 19 December 1639 Captain Henry Ashton and Peter Hay, esq, were ordered to travel to Barbados and the other islands of the late earl of Carlisle and to declare there that the king did not intend Captain Henry Hawley to be governor there, and to require Hawley to yield his office to the person appointed by the earl of Carlisle. If Hawley refused he was to be imprisoned and returned to England.

J. Broadway, R. Cust and S. K. Roberts (eds.), A Calendar of the Docquets of Lord Keeper Coventry, 1625-1640 (List and Index Society, special series, 34, 2004), part 1, p. 50.

Documents

  • Initial proceedings
    • Libel: 20/3f (28 Apr 1638)
    • Personal answer: 13/2r (c.1639)
  • Plaintiff's case
    • Defence interrogatories: 8/12 (10 May 1638)
  • Defendant's case
    • Defence: 12/2m (no date)
    • Plaintiff's interrogatories: 14/2e (4 Jun 1638)

People mentioned in the case

  • Ashton, Henry, captain
  • Banister
  • Byker, Richard
  • Duck, Arthur, lawyer
  • Futter, James
  • Habsburg, Philip IV, king
  • Hawley, Henry, gent
  • Hay, James, earl of Carlisle
  • Hay, Peter, esq
  • Holland, John
  • Kirk, Martin, servant
  • Lewin, William, lawyer
  • Marten, wax chandler
  • Stacy, Henry (also Stacie)
  • Tufton, William, knight

Places mentioned in the case

  • London
    • St Margaret, New Fish Street
    • St Mary Woolnoth
    • The Exchange
  • Spain
  • West Indies

Topics of the case

  • allegation of cheating
  • assault
  • denial of gentility
  • drunkenness