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THE stolen Letter of the Ashmole Museum has been found printed, and even reprinted. It is of the last degree of insignificance : a mere Note of Invitation to Downhall to stand ‘ Godfather unto my Child.’ Man-child now ten days old,* who, as we may see, is christened ‘on Thursday next’ by the name of RICHARD,—&Ild had strange ups and downs as a Man when it came to that Y
To my approved good Friend, Mr. Henry Downhall, at his Chambers in St. John’s College, Cambridge: These. ' _ Huntingdon, 14th October, 1626.
LOVING Sm, _
Make me so much your servant as to bet Godfather unto my Child. I would myself have come over to have made a formal invitation; but my occasions would not permit me: and therefore hold me in that excused The Day of your trouble is Thursday next. Let me en treat your company on Wednesday.
By this time it appears, I am more apt to encroach upon you for new favors than to shew my thankfulness for the love I have already found; But I know your patience and your goodness cannot be exhausted by
Your friend and servant,
Of this Downhall, sometimes written Downhault, and even Downett and Downtell; who grounds his claim, such as it is, to human remembrance on the above small Note from Oliver,—a helpful hand has, with unsubduable research, discovered various particulars, which might amount almost to an outline of a history
of Downhall, were such needed. He was of Northamptonshire, come of gentlefolks in that County. Admitted Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge, 12th April, 1614 ;—ha.d known Oliver, and apparently been helpful and instructive to him two years after that. More interesting’still, he this same Downhall was Vicar of St. Ives when Oliver came thither in 1635 ; still Vicar when Oliver left it, though with far other tendencies than Oliver’s now; and had, alas, to be ‘ ejected with his Curate, in 1642,’ as an-Anti-Puritan Malignant:*-—Oliver’s course and his having altogether parted now! Nay, farther, the same Downhall, surviving the Restoration, became ‘ Archdeacon of Huntingdon’ in 1667 : fifty-one years ago he had lodged there as Oliver Cromwell’s Guest and Gossip; and now he comes as Archdeacon,— with a very strange set of Annals written in his old head, poor Downhall! He died ‘at Cottingham in Northamptonshire, his native region, in the winter-time of 1669 ;’—and so, with his Ashmole Letter, ends.1'
THERE is at Ely a Charitable Foundation now above four centuries old; which in Oliver’s time was named the Ely Feofees’ Fund, and is now known as Parsons’ Charity ,' the old Records of which, though somewhat mutilated during those years, other one or two faint but indnbitable vestiges of Oliver, not to be neglected on the present occasion.
* Vol. i., p. 86.
f Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iii., 187; and ms. communicated by Mr. Cooper, resting on the following formidable mass of documentary Authorities:
Cole nss. (which is a Transcript of Baker’s History of St. John’s College). 166, 358. Rymer’s Farina. xix., 26-1. Le Neve’s Fasti Ecclesiw Anglicamz, p. 160. Kennet’s Register and Chronicle, p. 207, 251. Walker’s Sufen'nga, ii., 129, 130. Wood’s Athena (2d edition, passage wanting in both the 1st 1nd 3d), ii., 1179.