Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/472

This page needs to be proofread.


464


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 s. XL JUNE 13, 1903.


III. GENEALOGY.

'Dr. Edraond Halley : his Ancestry and Descendants,' New York Geneal. and ttiog. Record, xxxiv. 52, 106, New York, U.S., January and April last.

The Catalogue of Printed Books in the British Museum (Hagg Halliman), 274-5, London, 1888, twice mentions one James Halley as the possible editor of an edition of Dr. Edmond Halley's ' Astronomical Tables,' published at London in 1752. Of this work there are two copies in the British Museum, bearing press-marks respectively as follows : 50 e. 17. and 8562 f. 44. Mr. Ralph J. Beevor, M.A. (Trin. Coll., Cambridge), 22, Craven Street, Strand, W.C., London, has had the kindness to contribute an ingenious, and probably the correct, explanation of this name "Jatnes Halley." He says that there is nothing in either of the copies above de- scribed to indicate that James Halley had a hand in the making thereof. However, the (anonymous) introduction to the work makes mention of Flamsteed and Dr. Bradley. James Bradley succeeded Edmond Halley as Astronomer Royal. We should expect him to be the person most likely to be invited to undertake the task of seeing his predecessor's astronomical tables through the press. In fact, Mr. Beevor is of opinion that he had a hand in the work. Some one in the British Museum, being of the same opinion, adds the note"? edited by James Bradley." A tran- scriber, misled by the similarity of the names, writes "James Halley," and the mistake is perpetuated.

Letters of administration of the estate of Edmund Halley, sen., were granted 30 June, 1684, to Sir John Buckworth and Richard Young, "in usura et beneficium Joanna Halley [second wife] relictse dicti defuncti, et Edmundi Halley filii dicti defuncti." Cp. 'Historical Essay on the First Publication of Sir Isaac Newton's "Principia,"'by Prof. S. P. Rigaud, 36, note, Oxford, 1838.

In genealogical, as in other investigations, circumstantial evidence is a poor substitute for fact ; yet is there not something pecu- liar about Dr. Edmond Halley, who died 14 January, 1741/2, having made no change in the terms of his will dated 18 June, 1736 ? We quote a portion of that document :

"Since my son Edmond is in actual possession of the best part of the Real Estate of the Family and may Inherit the rest after my decease the whole being of greater Value than the personall Estate I have to leave my two Daughters Margaret Halle v and Katherine now wife to Mr. Henry Price, And besides he being retained in the Service of the Crown as a Surgeon seems to be Sufficiently pro- vided for My desire is that he may therewith be


Contented and accept of Twenty pounds for mourning."

Edmund Halley, surgeon R.N., died between 8 August, 1740, date of last entry of his service in the Admiralty archives, Public Record Office, and 12 January, 1740/1, date his will was proved. Is it safe to assume that the real estate of the family, which was still possessed by Dr. Edmond Halley in 1736, did not pass out of his hands up to the date of his decease, 14 January, 1741/21 If so, does this, or does it not, indicate that Dr. Edmond Halley intended that property, "the rest of the real estate," to be inherited by the (supposed) child or children of his son, Edmund Halley, surgeon R.N. ? It must be remembered that Dr. Halley's eldest daughter, Margaret, never married, and died 13 October, 1743, in the fifty-fifth year of her age (cp. 'Biog. Brit.,' iv. 2517). Dr. Halley's other surviving daughter, Katherine, married twice, but she seems to have been childless ; at least, her will, dated 8 July, 1764, mentions no children. The will of Edmund Halley, surgeon R.N., does not contain the name of a child ; it reads, in part, as follows : " do give and bequeath unto my welbeloved wife Sybilla Halley all such Moneys Goods Chatties Lands Tenements &c. that I now possess or may be posses'd of, by what Right or Title soever." If he had had a son to survive him would he have been apt to include in his will the word 41 lands " ? The question naturally arises, Is there any documentary evidence that Edmund Halley, surgeon R.N., had a daughter surviving him, 1740/1, old enough to have become the mother of James McPike, born circa 1751 ? The real estate of the Halley family doubtless was inherited from Edmund Halley, sen. (d. 1684). It might be possible to trace the successive titles thereto since that date, and thus to discover the heirs of Sybilla Halley.

To the English record-searcher the year 1742 may, and probably does, represent a relatively recent epoch. Not so to the American genealogist. The successive migra- tions of a given family constantly reaching out to the Farther West have not conduced to the preservation of vital records; hence there is more or less "jumping at con- clusions," which, if not wholly unwarranted, is very unsatisfactory.

EUGENE FAIRFIELD McPiKE.

Chicago, Illinois.

OFFSPRING BLACKALL. The * Dictionary of National Biography,' v. 117, says nothing about the parentage of Dr. Offspring Blackall, who was Bishop of Exeter from 1708 to 1716. An inquiry in * N. & Q.,' 8 th S. vi. 308, 454