Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Letters Carried by John Pell, Second Lord of the Manor of Pelham, When He Arrived in America in 1670

Thomas Pell is often referenced as the "First Lord of the Manor of Pelham". He died in late September, 1669. He died without issue of his own. His principal legatee was his nephew, John Pell, of England.

John Pell arrived in America in 1670 to take control of the estate left to him by his Uncle. He carried with him letters from a number of references. Those letters are in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Today's Historic Pelham Blog transcribes the letters carried by John Pell when he arrived in America.

"SIR, - I have lately, viz. March 26, 70, written so large, that I shall doe little else by this opportunity of Dr. Pells son than to referr you to yt letter, and to the Books I sent you together with the same. Only I shall here mention, that, since yt. time, here is come abroad a new Hypothesis of the Fluxe and Refluxe of the Sea, devised by one Mr. Hyrne, supposing yt ye Earth, besides ye Diurnal and Annual motion, hath another, directly from North to South, for ye space of 6 hours and some odd minuts, and then again from South to North for ye same time; and yt in this motion ye Earth does not always move to the same points, but farther, when we have Spring-tides, yn at other times; and yt ye motion of ye Earth in each vibration from the Spring-tide to ye neap-tide decreaseth, as that of a Pendulum will doe; and from thence again increases in ye same proportion it decreased, till the Tydes be at ye highest. [P. 245 / P. 246]

From this Hypothesis he pretends to solve all the phaenom of ye diurnal and menstrual Tydes, adscribing the Annual to meer casualties. Hence he will give a reason, why ye Spring tides are all the world ouer at ye same time, on the same side of the AEquator; and why a place hath the greater tydes, ye farther it is distant from the AEquator, etc.

It would be worth knowing, whether, according to this supposition, it be high water on yr American shore all ouer, at ye same time it is high water all over the European Shore. He affirms particularly, yt in the Bay of Mexico there is but a very litle or no rise and fall of ye water, and pretends to solve this phaenomenon also by his Theory.

Sir, you will doe us and Philosophy a good piece of service to acquaint us w th what particulars you know of the matter of fact in America, and of what you can learne from observing and credible navigators all ouer that part of the world. This gentleman is very confident of the truth of this Hypothesis, taking the liberty to say in writing, yt he hath been for many years as fully satisfyed in his judgement concerning the Cause of this Phaenomenon, as of any in Nature.

This must be examined by good Observations, and a general and faithfull History of ye Tydes: to w ch that you would contribute your and yr friends symbols, is the errant of this letter from, Sir,

Y.r very afft and faithfull servant,


The Books sent March 26, were; 1. Mr. Boyles Continuacion of Expts concerning ye Spring and Weight of the Air. 2. Dr. Holders Philosophy of Speech. 3. Dr. Thurstons Diatriba de respirationis usu primario. [4.] All the Transactions of A. 1669.

(Addressed) To his honored Friend JOHN WINTHROP, Esquire. Gouernor of Connecticutt in New England.

To be inquired for at Boston. By a friend.

(Indorsed) Mr. Hen: Oldenburge.


WHITEHALL, 22 Jun. '70.

MY VERY WORTHY FRIEND, - The unfrequency of our Correspondence must not in the least detract from our kindness. I usually answer your letters with the first conueniency after I receiue them. I doubt not of your continuing your industrious enquiries, though of a long while wee haue had no account of them from you. The bearer will acquaint you with occurences here & so giues me ground of excuse for the breuity of my letter, but you do not measure my friendship by the number of my lines. I will be glad of any oppertunity to make it appear by the highest kinde of demonstration you can put me to. And to shew you I have a firm confidence of yours, I do most earnestly recommend to your fauor the bearer Mr. John Pell, whose worthy father Dr. Pell you know we value highly. The Gentleman is a Server in ordinary to the King; & I do firmly expect & certainly promise my self you will use him as you might expect I would a [P. 246 / P. 247] friend of yours vpon your serious recommendation, and indeed I will account your kindness to him as a singular testimony of your friendship to,

My worthy friend, your reall servant,


(Indorsed) Sr. Robert Moray to Govr. W. 1670.

HONOURED SR, - You might justly blame my backwardnesse of answering your kind & large letter to me last year, but yt I trust your goodnesse will be ready still to make ye best construction of what admits anie. I have my self undergone a sicknesse which was like to have proov'd ye last, & since the recovery found my self on a sudden plunged in & distracted with a most troublesome tedious controversie & Lawsute, whiles my dear wife fell ill, & after much weaknesse, growing upon her byond recoverie, departed this life, which accidt was followed with a sad traine of many other troubles to me; besides ye losse of many ver speciall ffrends in severall parts, & especially of that dear & worthy frend of ours Mr Morlaen, whom I had so great a Desire to have seen once more. He & his wife soon deceased one after another, & I am informed that all his goods & those many excell t curiosities & rarities he was master of were suddenly sold, distracted, scattered. After all this, when I recollect what is past, I cannot but admire & adore Gods mercifull & wonderfull dispensation, deliverance, & sustentation, whereby he hath & doth uphold me in all my streights, that I have cause to complain of nothing but my own unthankfullnesse to him for all his goodnesse. Sr, from all this I doubt not but you will easily inferre, that it was rather an increase of trouble to me than otherwise that I could not enjoy ye benefit of so acceptable an entercourse as your singular Love & kindnesse invited & engaged me to; & that I was right glad of this good opportunity by ye meanes of Dr. Pell (so worthy & dear a ffrend) his own & onely son, to expectorate my case into yor Bosome, & to deleiver into your own hands this Testimonie of my constant & due Respects to your person & ye high & worthie esteem of yor vertues & Merits, sorrie onely that for ye present I have not other & better matter to entertain you withall; & to requite the paines you took & ye content you gave me by ye rehearsall of so many signall acts of the Divine Providence, vulgarly call'd casualties. Truly, Sr, I esteemed them so much ye more because I am sure you doe not report such matters by common hearsey; & indeed, Sr, if we would but be attentive observers of our own personall concerns of this kinde, in thankfull acknowledgemt to God & usefull Providence for our selves, what Treasures would it afforde us, & what incitements, encouragemts, & engagemts, to fear, love, & serve our great & good God, & to be on all occasions helpfull, comfortable, & beneficiall to ourselves & others, causing us often to remembr, sing, & practice the 107th Psalm. I could instance passages of my own Experience & Experimts of this nature, as of ye greatest part of my Life, so especially of ye latter troublesom yeares, but yt ye circumstances [P. 247 / P. 248] are too many & diffuse for Letters. However, we do well to observe all occurences, & to imprrove all experiments without & within us to the End of our Creation, Redemtion, & Preservation. I hope, Sr, if God vouchsafes me longer Life and health I shall be at better leasure hereafter to entertain your epistolar visits, & glad of any opportunity to shew, that, how undeserving soever of so meritorious & thrice worthy a friendship as yours, none is more willing and desirous to endeavour all acknowledgemt thereof than,

Most honoured Sr, Your very humble & much obliged Servant,


SOURCE: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society. - 1878 -, pp. 245-48 (Boston, MA: Massachusetts Historical Society 1879) (Part of June, 1878 Meeting, Section on "Correspondence of the Founders of the Royal Society with Governor Winthrop of Connecticut").

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