A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at No. 25 Beacon Street, Boston, on Thursday, 25 January, 1912, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Henry Lefavour, LL.D., in the chair.

    The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported that letters had been received from Mr. Arthur Fairbanks and Mr. Clarence Saunders Brigham, accepting Resident Membership.

    Mr. Roger Bigelow Merriman, Mr. Fred Norris Robinson, and Mr. Chester Noyes Greenough, all of Cambridge, were elected Resident Members.

    Mr. George Lyman Kittredge read a paper on Cotton Mather’s Election into the Royal Society.327

    In the discussion which followed, Mr. Worthington C. Ford spoke of the draughts of many of Cotton Mather’s letters in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and offered copies of these for publication by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts in connection with the transcripts of Mather’s letters to the Royal Society in the possession of our associate Mr. Frederick L. Gay. This generous offer was referred to the Committee of Publication.

    Mr. Henry H. Edes exhibited an original deed on parchment, given 14 January, 1656, by the Rev. John Wilson, first minister of the First Church in Boston, conveying to Jacob Sheafe a lot of land having a frontage of 42½ feet on State Street at the westerly corner of Devonshire Street (formerly Crooked Lane and Wilson’s Lane), the site being now covered in part by the Devonshire Building. The parchment bears the signatures of John and Elizabeth Wilson as grantors, of Edward Rawson and Hezekiah Usher as witnesses, and of Governor Bellingham, before whom the deed was acknowledged. The consideration was £70, and in less than a week after taking title to the estate Sheafe conveyed it to Hezekiah Usher for £80.328

    On behalf of Mr. Albert Matthews, Mr. Edes presented the following remarks:

    In December, 1910, Mr. Horace E. Ware communicated a paper on Observation with the Dipping Needle at Boston in 1722.329 The observation in question was made by Captain Othniel Beale. Writing in 1724, William Whiston stated that “Captain James Jolly set out in July, 1722. for Archangel, with one of my Dipping-Needles on Board;” and that “Captain Othniel Beal set out about the same Time for Boston in New-England, with the same Instrument.”330 When Mr. Ware’s paper was going through the press, I thought it would be worth while to ascertain as precisely as possible when Captain Beale made his observation “in the Haven of Boston;” but as no allusions to Captain Beale could be found in Sewall’s Diary or in other places where one would naturally look for them, the attempt proved unsuccessful. Recently, however, the needed data have turned up in an unexpected quarter. In the masterly paper to which we have just listened, Professor Kittredge alludes to a Henry Newman of London.331 This was the Henry Newman who graduated at Harvard College in 1687, and to whom there are numerous references in the Harvard College records. From Thoresby’s Diary we learn that Newman and Thoresby were intimate friends, and four of Newman’s letters are printed in Thoresby’s Correspondence. From these works it also appears that Newman was secretary of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge — a fact barely alluded to by Sibley.332 This new information sent me to the History of the Society published in 1898, and there I found that Newman was chosen Secretary on June 24, 1708, and retained the office for the long period of thirty-five years.333 More interesting still was a series of letters written by Newman from 1722 to 1736.334 One of these, written to Governor Shute on July 14, 1722, was sent “By Capt Beale;” another, written to Paul Dudley on the same day, states that a “Box of books” was “sent by Capta Othniel Beale in the Gilbert;”335 and a third, written to Cotton Mather on August 3, was also sent “By Captn Beale.”336 Evidently, therefore, Beale sailed from London early in August, and it only remained to examine Boston newspapers to ascertain the date of his arrival here. In the Boston Gazette of September 24, 1722, is this entry: “Custom House Boston, Sept. 22. Entered Inwards, . . . Oth. Beale, . . . from London” (p. 2/2).337 Whiston also says that “After Captain Beal had made and sent me these Observations, he pursued his Voyage to Barbados, and thence to Cliarles Town in South Carolina; at both which Places he made Observations; but the best at Barbados.”338 In the Boston Gazette of October 15, 1722, is this entry: “Custom House Boston, Octob. 13. . . . Outward Bound, . . . Othniel Beale for Barbadoes” (p. 4/1), and a similar entry is in the New England Courant of October 15, 1722 (p. 2/2); while in the Boston News Letter of October 15 among those “Entered Out” is “Othniel Beal for Barbadoes” (p. 2/2), and in the same paper of November 5 among those “Cleared Out” is “Beale . . . for Barbadoes” (p. 2/2). Thus Captain Beale reached Boston on or about September 22, 1722, and remained here several weeks.

    Mr. Horace E. Ware presented to the Society two letters, one from the Eoyal Society339 and the other from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty,340 stating that Captain Othniel Beale’s original journal recording his observation with the dipping needle at Boston in 1722 was not preserved either in the archives of the Royal Society or in the Admiralty records from 1716 to 1736 in the Public Record Office.

    Again on behalf of Mr. Matthews, Mr. Edes made the following communication:

    A romantic story is told about John and Margery Sullivan, the parents of General John Sullivan and Governor James Sullivan. John Sullivan, then about thirty-three years old, sailed from Limerick in 1723, and on the voyage his attention was attracted to a child, then only nine years of age, named Margery Brown. Arrived at York, Maine, Mr. Sullivan applied to a clergyman of that place and obtained a loan sufficient to pay to the master of the ship his own passage money and that of Margery. He appears to have adopted Margery, and in due time a young man applied to him for her hand in marriage; but, finding that Margery did not reciprocate the feeling, the request was denied. This story was related by the late Thomas C. Amory, to whom it was told by an aged lady in Berwick, Maine, who in turn had received it, some sixty years before, “from the lips of Master Sullivan himself, in the presence of his wife.” Mr. Amory continues as follows:

    Enlightened by this incident as to the nature of his own sentiments towards Margery, and discovering that he had himself already gained her affections, he made her, soon after, his wife. The disparity of age, for she was some twenty years younger than her husband, did not lessen their happiness; indeed, her greater dependence upon his superior experience served only to increase their mutual attachment. Although she did not at all times take kindly to his efforts to inspire her with a taste for knowledge, she was bright and sensible, and proved doubtless a better helpmate in the wilderness than if more highly educated. He was occasionally provoked by her violent ebullitions of temper, but she seems to have yielded ready obedience to his authority whenever he saw fit to exert it. Like all men possessed by any secret subject of sorrowful reflection, he shrunk from contention, and probably lived in his own recollections a life quite apart from his daily duties and employments, sharing but few of his deeper feelings even with his wife, who, from her own very different experiences in early days, could have had little power of understanding them.341

    Mr. Amory speaks of Mrs. Sullivan’s “violent ebullitions of temper,” and says that Mr. Sullivan “shrunk from contention.” Recently I stumbled on a singular advertisement which, inserted in a Boston newspaper in 1743, shows that Mr. Sullivan not only “shrunk from contention,” but was once actually driven away from home by a violent ebullition of temper on the part of his wife. The document, at once curious and pathetic, is as follows:


    My dear and loving Husband,

    ‘YOur abrupt Departure from me, and forsaking of me your Wife, and tender Babes, which I now humbly acknowledge and confess I was greatly if not wholly the Occasion of, by my too342 rash and unadvised Speech and Behaviour towards you; for which I now in this publick Manner humbly ask your Forgiveness, and hereby promise upon your Return, to amend and reform, and by my future loving and obedient Carriage towards you, endeavour to make an Atonement for my past evil Deeds, and manifest to you and the whole World that I am become a new Woman, and will prove to you a loving, dutiful and tender Wife. If you do not regard what I have above written, I pray you to hearken to what your Pupil Joshua Gilpatrick hath below sent you,343 as also to the Lamentations and Cries of your poor Children, especially the eldest, who (tho’ but seven Years old344) all rational People really conclude, that unless you speedily return, will end in his Death; and the Moans of your other Children345 are enough to affect any humane Heart. — And why, my dear Husband, should a few angry and unkind Words, from an angry and fretful Wife (for which I am now paying full dear, having neither eat, drank nor slept in quiet, and am already reduced almost to a Skeleton, that unless you favour me with your Company, will bereave me of my Life) make you thus to forsake me and your Children? How can you thus for so slender a Cause as a few rash Words from a simple and weak Woman, cause you to part from your tender Babes, who are your own Flesh and Blood? Pray meditate on what I now send, and reprieve your poor Wife and eldest Son (who take your Departure so heavily) from a lingering tho’ certain Death, by your coming home to them again as speedily as you can, where you shall be kindly received, and in the most submissive Manner by your Wife, who is ready at your Desire, to lay her self at your Feet for her past Miscarriage, and am with my and your Children’s kind Love to you, your loving Wife,

    Margery Sullivan.

    Summersworth, New-Hampshire, July 11. 1743.346