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noticed in the first of these interesting docu
6." To the Honorable the Committee sitting at Goldsmiths' Hall for Compositions.
"The Humble Petition of Richard Powell, of Forrest Hill, in the County of Oxon, Esq.
"That your Petitioner's estate for the most parte lying in the Kings Quarters, he did adhere to His Majesty's party against the forces raised by the Parliament, in this unnaturall warr; for which his delinquency his estate lyeth under sequestration. He is comprised within these Articles at the surrender of Oxford. And humbly prayes to be admitted to his composition according to the said Articles.
"And he shall pray, &c.
"Received 6° Augusti, 1646.
"26° Novembris, 1646,
"Referred to the Sub-Committee."
7. "These are to certifie, that Richard Powell of Forrest Hill, in the County of Oxford, Esq. did freely and fully take the nationall covenant and subscribe the same, upon the fourth day of December, 1646; the said covenant being administred unto him, according to order, by me,
"Minister of John Zacharies, London.”
8. "Richard Powell of Forrest Hill, in the County of Oxford, Esq. tooke the oath this 4th of December, 1646. (Signed) "THO. VINCENT."
9." Richard Powell of Forrest Hill, in the County of Oxford maketh oath, that the severall summes of money mentioned to be oweing by him in his Particular, annexed to his Petition at Gouldsmiths' Hall, are trulie and reallie oweing by him. And further deposeth, that he is the worse in his estate att leaste three thousand pounds by reason of these warres. And that the aforesaid debtes were by him oweing before the beginning of this Parliament, and are still oweing. (Signed) "RIC. POWELL.
"Jur. 4°. die. Decembr. 1646.
10. "A particular of the reall and personall estate of Richard Powell of Forrest Hill.
"He is seized of an estate in fee of the tythes of Whatley, in the Parish of Cudsden, and three yard lands and a halfe there, together with certayne cottages, worth before these times per
"This is morgadg'd to Mr. Ash-A demyse for
99 yeeres de
feated by a
worth for ninetye-nine yeares for a security of four hundred pounds, as appeares by Deed, bearing date the 10th of Jan. in the 7th of King Charles.
paymente of 4007. Jan. 30, 1642. Arrears unpaid.
040 00 0
"His personal estate in corne and household stuffe, amounts to
"In timber and wood
"In debts upon specialityes and otherwise owing to him
"He oweth upon a Statute to John Mylton
"He is indebted more before these times by specialityes and otherwise to severall persons, as appeares by affidavit
500 0 0
400 0 0
100 0 0
300 0 0
1200 0 0
"He lost by reason of these warres three thousand powndes
"This is a true particular of the reall and personall estate that he doth desire to compound for with this honorable committee, wherein he doth submitt himselfe to such fine as they shall impose according to the articles of Oxford, wherein he is comprised. (Signed) "RICHARD POWELL. "Received 21° Novembris, 1646."
But before this return of his property had been made, he had received the following protection.
11. "Sir Thomas Fairfax, knight, generall of the forces reaised by the Parliament.
"Suffer the bearer hereof, Mr. Richard Powell of Forrest Hill in the county of Oxon, who was in the city and garrison of Oxford, at the surrender thereof, and is to have the full benefit of the articles agreed unto upon the surrender, quietly, and with
out let or interruption, to passe your guards with his servants, horses, armes, goods, and all other necessaries; and to repaire unto London, or elsewhere, upon his necessary occasions. And in all places where he shall reside, or whereto he shall remove, to be protected from any violence to his person, goods, or estate, according to the said articles; and to have full liberty, at any time within six months, to goe to any convenient port, and to transport himselfe, with his servants, goods, and necessaries, beyond seas; and in all other things to enjoy the benefit of the said articles. Hereunto due obedience
is to be given by all persons whom it may concerne, as they will answer the contrary. Given under my hand and seal the 27th day of June 1646.
"To all officers and souldiers under my command, and to all others whom it may concerne." Indorsed," Richard Powell, No. 1137. Dec. 1646. Reported, 1° Oct. 1649. Fine 1807."
We come now to other documents, which also relate to the property of Mr. Powell; in which the connection of Milton with Forest Hill is found so early as in 1627, while he was a student at Cambridge; a circumstance unknown to all the biographers of the poet. And here he might have been subsequently an occasional visitor; he might have been known to the villagers, and thus have given rise to the tradition already mentioned of his residence at the place; and might at a later period
(for she was but young when married in 1643) have tendered his heart to Mary Powell. Yet he never told his love. And accordingly his nephew Phillips relates, as a matter of marvel, that after an absence from London for a month, nobody knowing the reason, his uncle returned with a wife. But it may be thought, that the union had been planned by their relations in 1627, (for the grandfather of Milton and Mr. Powell were neighbours,) when the lady was but a child; and that the recorded debt, which will presently appear, was the security for her future dower. If such was the case, Milton bestowed the month of absence from London upon Forest Hill, in order to fulfil the precontract. But supposing this absence to have brought him to Forest Hill for the first time, and the debt to have been upon another account, we may imagine him arrived for the purpose of soliciting the payment of it, and the impression to have been then made upon his heart by the lady. In either case it is certain that he returned, with his uncancelled debt, perhaps like his own Adam, "fondly overcome with female charm." And indeed he seems to apologize, as it were, for this his seeming hasty match, in his own Samson Agonistes; where allusions to his first marriage, it has been often asserted, are strongly drawn:
"The first I saw at Timna, and she pleas'd
Enough, however, is shewn to render questionable