Catalogue Entry: OTHE00073

Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton. Vol. 2 (Edinburgh: 1855)

Author: David Brewster

Source: Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: 1855).


Guldinus gave this theorem in 1635, and seeing that he was acquainted with Pappus, Montucla and others were disposed to regard him as a plagiarist. Had they studied Pappus in Condamine's Latin, in place of that of Halley, they never would have known the theorem but from Guldinus.


Roberval's concealment of his discovery, and his forgery of a work of Arist{illeg}, greatly lower his credit, when he bears testimony in his own favour.


These methods were published in the sixth or supplemental volume of the <8> second edition of Herigon's Cursus, Paris, 1644, 8vo; and an example was given by Schooten in the second edition of his Commentary on the second Book of Descartes's Geometry, in 1659.


Vol. i. pp. 23-26.


Vol. i. p. 36, and note 3, p. 27.


This task seems to have been pressed upon him by some friends in London. In sending to Collins the notes upon the book, in July 1670, he wishes his name to be suppressed, and suggests that in the title page, after the words Nunc e Belgico Latine versa, the words et ab alio authore locupletata should be added. In a letter to Collins, dated September 5, 1676, he thus speaks of the work: — "I have nothing in the press, only Kinckhuysen's Algebra I would have got printed here, to satisfy the expectation of some friends in London, but our press cannot do it. This, I suppose, is the book Dr. Lloyd means. It is now in the hands of a bookseller here to get it printed; but if it do come out, I shall add nothing to it." Maccles{illeg}eld Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 398.


Pemberton's Account of Sir Isaac Newton's Discoveries, Pref. p. 6.


It is entitled Method of Fluxions and Infinite Series. Lond. 1736, 1737, 4to.


Wallisii Opera, tom. i. Præf. pp. 2, 3; and tom. iii. cap. xciv. xcv. See also Letter Of Wallis to Newton, April 10, 1695, in Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p 809, and part of it in Raphson's Hist. of Fluxions, pp. 120, 121.


Newtoni Opera, tom. i. pp. 333-386.


Ibid. tom. i. pp. 531-560.


Ibid. tom. i. pp. 1-251.


He probably discovered them among the Lucasian papers when be succeeded Newton in that chair, and found his manuscript lectures.


Newtoni Opera, tom. i. pp. 388-519.


"Acutissimis qui toto orbe florent Mathematicis."


John Bernoulli had already published, in the Leipsic Acts for June, p. 266, a solution of the most simple case in which the exponent of the power was unity.


Acta Lipsiensia, in June, p. 269.


The original manuscript of this letter with the solution of the problem is preserved at the Royal Society; and one of the two papers, a folio printed half-sheet, still exists in their archives. At the bottom, in Newton's hand, are the words, "Chartam hanc ex Gallia missam accepi, Jan. 29, 1696-7." Edleston's Correspondence, &c., &c., p. lxviii. For a copy of the document, see Newtoni 0pera, tom. iv. pp. 411-418.


Dated London, March, 1716.


Wallis to Newton, April 10, 1695. See Edleston's Correspondence, pp. 301, 302.


Two years before this, in 1671, Leibnitz presented to the Academy of Sciences a paper containing the germ of the differential method, so that he must have been able to appreciate the information he received in England. — See page 80.


Dated February 3d and 20th, 1673.


March 30, April 26, May 26, and June 8, 1673.


July 15, 1673.


October 26, 1673.


May 20, 1675.


Henry Oldenburg, whose name is so intimately associated witli the history of Newton's discoveries, was born at Bremen, and was consul from that town to London during the usurpation of Cromwell. Having lost his office, and been compelled to seek the means of subsistence, he became tutor to an English nobleman, whom he accompanied to Oxford in 1656. During his residence in that city he was introduced to the philosophers who established the Royal Society, and, upon the death of William Crown, the first secretary, he was appointed, in 1663, joint secretary along with Mr. Wilkins. He kept up an extensive correspondence with more than seventy philosophers and literary men in all parts of the world, — a privilege especially given to the Society in their charter. The suspicions of the Government, however, were somehow or other, excited against him, and he was committed to the Tower on the 20th June 1667, "for dangerous designs and practices." Although no evidence was produced to justify so harsh a procceding, he was kept a close prisoner till the 26th August 1667, when he was discharged. "This remarkable event," as Mr. Weld remarks, "had so much influence on the society as to cause a suspension of the meetings from the 30th May to the 3d October." It is remarkable that there is no notice of this fact in the council or journalbooks of the Society.

Oldenburg was the author of several papers in the Philosophical Transactions, and of some works which have not acquired much celebrity. He died at Charlton, near Greenwich, in August 1678. See Weld's History of the Royal Society, vol. i. pp. 200-204.


This article was entitled "Nova methodus pro maximis et minimis, itemque tangentibus quæ nec fractas nec irrationales moratur, et singulare pro illis calculi genus, per G. G. L." — Acta Erudit. 1684, pp. 472, 473.


"A mea vix abludentem" — the same expression which Leibnitz used in his letter to Oldenburg of June 21, 1677, "ab his non abludere." The similarity of the Method of Fluxions and the Differential Calculus, may be considered as admitted both by Newton and Leibnitz.


These words were inserted in the 2d edition of the Principia.


Letter to the Abbé Conti, April 9, 1716, and to Madame de Kilmansegg, April 18, 1716.


We have, fortunately, Newton's own opinions on the subject. "And as for the scholium upon the second lemma of the second book of the Principia Philosophiæ Mathematicæ, which is so much wrested against me, it was written not to give away that lemma to Mr. Leibnitz, but, on the contrary, to assert it to myself. Whether Mr. Leibnitz invented it after me, or had it from me, is a question of no consequence; for second inventors have no right." — Raphson's History of Fluxions, 1715, p. 122, see also p. 115; and Newtoni Opera, tom. iv. p. 616.


In a manuscript of seven closely written pages, entitled, "A Supplement to the Remarks;" that is, to some observations upon Leibnitz's letter to Conti, dated 9th April 1716, published in Raphson's Fluxions, p. 111.


The title of this addition, which occupies more than a folio page, is, "In the end of the Scholium in Princip. Philos., p. 227, after the words, Utriusque fundamentum continetur in hoc Lemmate, add, Sunto quantitates datæ, a, b, c; fluentes x, y, z," &c.


A copy of this letter was sent to Tschirnhausen in May 1675, thirteen months before it was sent to Leibnitz.


"Doubts have been expressed," Mr. Edleston remarks, "whether these papers were actually sent to Leibnitz." That papers were sent and received by Leibnitz, his own testimony and that of others prove; but there is some reason to believe, as first indicated by Mr. Edleston, and made much more probable by Professor Do Morgan, that Newton's letter of the 10th December was sent, without the example of drawing a tangent to a curve, which it actually contained, and which was relied upon as giving Leibnitz a knowledge of the new calculus. In support of this opinion, we find that what are called the originals, said to have been received by Leibnitz, and Collins' draught of the papers preserved in the Royal Society, contain merely an allusion to that method. These originals have been printed in Leibnitz's Mathematical Works, published at Berlin in 1849, but fac-similes have not been given to enable us to judge of their genuineness. It is difficult to reconcile with these statements that of Newton himself, who declares that the originals of the letters in question were sent to Leibnitz in Paris to be returned, and that these originals were in <32> the archives of the Royal Society. Leibnitz may have retained imperfect copies of these originals, which must have contained the method of tangents. If it be true that the original letters of Newton were sent to Leibnitz, we have nothing to do with the copies either at Hanover or the Royal Society.

With regard to the seven "study exercises by Leibnitz, on the use of both the differential and integral calculus," as Professor De Morgan calls them, dated November 11, 21, 22, 1675, June 26, July, November 1676, wliich were published by Gerhardt in 1848, we cannot, without seeing the originals or proper fac-similes of the hand writing, receive them as evidence. Gerhardt admits that some person had been turning the 5 of 1675 into a 3, (from an obvious motive;) and when we recollect how Leibnitz altered grave documents to give him a priority to Bernoulli, as we shall presently see, we are entitled to pause before we decide on any writings that have passed through his hands. But even if we admit these documents to be genuine, the allegation of Newton's friends that copies of his papers were in circulation before 1675, requires to be considered in the controversy. We recommend to the reader the careful study of Mr. Edleston's statement in the Correspondence of Sir Isaac Newton, p. xlvii., and of the very interesting paper by Professor De Morgan, on the Companion to the Almanac for 1852, p. 8.

To these observations we may ad, that Keill published in the Tournal Littéraire for May and June, 1713, vol. i. p. 215, the extract from the letter of December 10, 1672, as the chief document upon which the report of the committee of the Royal Society was founded, and at the same time distinctly stated that this letter was sent to Leibnitz. Now Leibnitz, as we know, read this letter, and never contradicted the allegation of Keill. If the paper actually sent to him had been merely an abridgment of that letter, from which the example was omitted, he would undoubtedly have come forward, and proved by the production of what he did receive, and what we know he possessed, that the principal argument used against him had no foundation.

Three years afterwards, in 1716, when Newton had challenged him to the discussion, he had another opportunity which he did not use, of disowning the reception of the letter


See APPENDIX, No. 1.


On a separate folio sheet I have found the following form of the scholium. The words in italics are not in the printed scholium, in which there is the word eandem here omitted. "In literis quæ mihi cum geometra peritissimo G. G. Leibnitio annis abhinc decem intercedebant, cum significarem me compotem esse methodi determinandi maximas et minimas, ducendi tangentes, quadrandi figuras curvilineas, et similia peragendi quæ in terminis surdis æque ac in rationalibus procederet, methodumque exemplis illustrarem sed fundamentum ejus literis transpositis hanc sententiam involventibus [Data æquatione quotcunque fluentes quantitates involvente, fluxiones invenire, et vice versa] celarem: rescripsit vir clarissimus, anno proximo, se quoque in ejusmodi methodum incidisse, et methodum suam communicavit a mea vix abludentem, pæterquam in verborum et notarum formulis. Utriusque fundamentum continetur in hoc Lemmate." This copy does not contain the few words added in the second edition of the Principia.


In the Acta Eruditorum for January and February 1689, Leibnitz published two papers, one "On the Motion of Projectiles in a resisting Medium," and the other, "On the Causes of the Celestial Motions." Newton regarded the propositions in these papers, and in a third, De Lineis Opticis, as plagiarisms from the Principia, Leibnitz, as he said, "pretending that he had found them all before that book came abroad," and "to make the principal proposition his own, adapting to it an erroneous demonstration, and thereby discovering that he did not yet understand how to work in second differences. — See Raphson's Fluxions, p. 117; and Recensio Commercii Epistolici; Newtoni Opera, tom. iv. p. 481, No. lxxii.


See APPENDIX, No. 11. "At the request of Dr. Wallis," says Newton, "I sent to him in two letters, dated 27th August and 17th September, 1692, the first pro position of the Book of Quadratures, copied almost verbatim from the book, and also the method of extracting fluents out of equations involving fluxions, mentioned in my letter of 24th October, 1676, and copied from an older paper, and an explication of the method of fluxions direct and inverse, comprehended in the sentence, Data equatione, &c. &c., and the Doctor printed them all the same year, (viz. anno 1692) in the second volume of his works, pp. 391-396. This volume being then in the press, and coming abroad the next year, two years before the first volume was printed off and this is the first time that the use of letters with pricks, and a rule for finding second, third, and fourth fluxions, were published, though they were long before in manuscript. When I considered only first fluxions, I seldom used letters with a prick; but when I considered also second, third, and fourth fluxions, &c., I distinguished them by letters with one, two, or more pricks; and for fluents I put the fluxions either included within a square, (as in the aforesaid analysis,) or with a square prefixed as in some other papers, or with an oblique line upon it. And these notations by pricks and oblique lines, are the most compendious yet used, but were not known to the Marquis de l'Hospital when he recommended the differential notation, nor are necessary to the method." A Supplement to the Remarks, p. 4.


Acta Eruditorum, Jan. 1691, p. 14.


Nicolas Facio de Duillier, an eminent mathematician, was born at Basle on the 16th February 1664. In 1684 and 1685 he became acquainted with Count Fenil, a Piedmontese, who, having incurred the displeasure of the Duke of Savoy, took refuge in France, where he became captain of a troop of horse. Having quarrelled one day with the commanding officer of his regiment, when drawn upon parade, the Count shot him dead, and, being well mounted, escaped from his pursuers. He fled to Alsace, where he took refuge in the house of Mr. Facio's maternal grandfather but, in order to assist him more effectually, he was sent to the house of Facio's father, who lived at Duillier. When walking alone with young Facio, the Count told him that he had offered to M. De Louvois to seize the Prince of Orange, and deliver him into the hands of the King; and he showed him the letter of M. Louvois, offering him the King's pardon, approving of the plan, and enclosing an order for money. The Prince of Orange was in the habit of taking a drive on the sands at Scheveling, <38> a village three miles from the Hague, and the Count proposed, with the aid of ten or twelve men, to land in a light ship with Dutch colours, and carry off the Prince to Dunkirk. The scheme was ripe for execution in 1686; but Facio, aware of the Count's design to take the life of his son, felt it his duty to thwart him in the commission of the two crimes which he had in view. He had become acquainted with Dr. Burnet at Geneva, and knowing that he was going to Holland to visit the Prince of Orange, he acquainted the Doctor with the Count's scheme, and agreed to accompany him to Holland with the view of explaining it to the Prince. The scheme was accordingly communicated to the Prince and Princess, and, though seconded by the latter, Monsieur Fagel and others had great difficulty in inducing the Prince to have the protection of a guard when he went abroad. In return for the services of Facio, it was resolved, on the strength of testimonials from Huygens, to create for him a professorship of mathematics for instructing the nobility and gentry of Holland, with a salary of 1200 florins, and a pension from the Prince.

Some delay having taken place in completing this arrangement, Facio got leave to pay a visit to England, where he arrived in 1687; but having been taken ill at Oxford, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1687, and treated with much kindness by the English mathematicians, he remained till the accession of William III. When he visited Switzerland in 1699, 1700, and 1701, he learned that Count Fenil had received from the French Court a situation at Pignerol, a fortified city not far from Turin; and that in consequence of having conspired to surrender the place to the Duke of Savoy, he was condemned to be beheaded. In 1732 Facio endeavoured, but we believe unsuccessfully, to obtain, through the influence of Mr. Conduitt, some reward for having saved the life of the Prince of Orange. He assisted Conduitt in making out the design, and writing the inscription for Newton's Monument in Westminster Abbey.

In 1704, when Facio taught mathematics in Spitalfields, he unfortunately became secretary to the Camisards, or fanatical prophets from the Cevennes, who pretended to raise the dead, and perform other miracles. Lord Shaftesbury attacked them in his Letter on Enthusiasm; and having been unjustly suspected of some political scheme, Facio and other two prophets were seized by the police in 1707, and condemned to the pillory. On the 2d of December 1707, Facio stood on the pillory at Charing Cross with the following inscription on his hat: "Nicolas Facio convicted for abetting Klias Moner in his wicked and counterfeit prophecies, and causing them to be printed and published to terrify the Queen's people." It is stated by Spence (Observations, Anecdotes, &c., 1820, p. 159,) on the authority of Lockier, Dean of Peterborough, "that Sir Isaac Newton had a strong inclination to go and hear the French prophets, and was restrained from it with difficulty by some of his friends, who feared he might be infected by them as Facio had been." Facio spent the rest of his life at Worcester, where he died in 1753, nearly ninety years of age. See Phil. Trans. 1713, and Gentleman's Magazine, 1737, 1738.


Dr. Guhrauer, in his biography of Leibnitz, published in 1842, has most unjustly stated that Newton prompted this attack of Facio. We have carefully inspected all the manuscripts of Newton, and cannot discover the slightest evidence in support of a charge which deserves the severest reprobation.


These letters do not appear in the Correspondence of Huygens with Leibnitz and the other distinguished men of the seventeenth century, lately published by Professor Uylenbroek. There ere no letters dated between 1680 and 1690; but it appears from a letter to Leibnitz from Huygens, dated 18th November 1690, that he was acquainted with the calculus of Facio above referred to, and that it had been the subject of correspondence between these two celebrated mathematicians. Huygens tells Leibnitz that he had some share in the rule of Facio, and that it was Facio who first pointed out the mistake of Tschirnhaus. He adds that his method was a very beautiful one; and Uylenbroek, in a note on the subject, pointing at what Huygens had done in the matter, speaks of it as a fine invention. In a subsequent letter, dated 26th April l690, Leibnitz passes a high compliment to Facio. "As Facio has much penetration," he says, "I expect from him fine things when he comes to details; and having profited by your instruction and that of Newton, he will not fail to produce works which gain him distinction. I wish I were as fortunate as he is in being able to consult two such oracles." See Christiani Huygenii, aliorumque seculi xvii. virorum celebrium, Exercit. Math. et Philos., Fascic. i. p. 41, and Fascic. ii. pp. 56, 175. Hagæ Comitum, 1833.


Investigalio Geometrica, &c., p. 18. Lond. 1699.


Acta Eruditorum, 1700, p. 203.


We have already proved that Newton did not attach this meaning to his scholium; and in replying to this passage in the Recensio Commercii Epistolici, he himself distinctly denies having "acknowledged that Leibnitz invented his method by his own genius, unassisted by the letters of Newton."— Newtoni Opera, tom. iv. p. 489.


Acta Eruditorum, 1701, p. 134.


Guhrauer, the biographer of Leibnitz, proves that he was the author of the review, and affirms that Leibnitz constantly denied any knowledge of the authorship. See Essays from the Edinburgh Review, by Henry Rogers, pp. 226, 227.


A Supplement to the Remarks, p 6.


January, p. 34.


This was the name given by Leibnitz to the integral calculus, or the inverse method of fluxions.


The words within brackets are added by Newton, and bring out very distinctly the meaning of Leibnitz. In his letter to the Abbé Conti, dated 9th April 1716, Leibnitz virtually admits the authorship of the review, endeavours to give a different meaning to the words semperque adhibuit, and maintained that Newton allowed himself to be deceived by a man who poisoned his words, and sought a quarrel by the malignant interpretation of them. Newton was himself the interpreter. See Raphson's History of Fluxions, p. 103.


For September and October, p. 185.


This account was probably given to the Society in consequence of the following unpublished letter from Keill to Newton, written two days before the meeting, that is on the 3d April 1711. "I have now sent you the Acta Lipsice, (1705), where there is an account given of your book, (on Quadratures), and I desire you will read from page 34, &c. (namely, the passage which we have given from Newton's MS. in pages 39, 40). I hold not the volume (1710, p. 78) in which Wolfius has answered my letter, but I have sent you his letter transcribed from thence, and also a copy of my letter to him. I wish you would take the pains to read that part of their supplements, wherein they give an account of Dr. Friend's book, and from them you may gather how unfairly they deal with you; but really these things are trifles, not worth your while, since you can spend your time to much better purpose than minding anything such men can say. However, if you would look upon them so far as to let me hold your sentiments on that matter, you will much oblige, your most humble servant,            JO. KEILL."


Weld's History of the Royal Society, vol. i. p. 410


"Indicia perspicacissimi ingenii viro satis obtia, unde Leibnitius principia illius calculi hausit aut haurire potuit."


These sentiments, which we had formerly expressed, and which we again repeat, have been singularly misrepresented by Dr. Guhrauer in his Life of Leibnitz. A distinguished writer, Mr. Henry Rogers, in giving an account of this work, has defended us better than we could have done ourselves. "Dr. Guhrauer," he remarks, "is not a little indignant with Sir David Brewster for the supposed injustice which, in his Life of Newton, he has done to Leibnitz, and to which he frequently refers with much bitterness. Never was a complaint more unreasonable. Our distinguished countryman does not question Leibnitz's claim to be regarded as a true inventor of the calculus; he merely asserts the undoubted priority of Newton's discovery. He expressly affirms that there is no reason to believe Leibnitz a plagiarist; but that if there were any necessity for believing either to be so, it must be Leibnitz, and not Newton, who is open to the charge. Guhrauer angrily replies, not simply by saying (which is true) that there is no sufficient evidence of Leibnitz's <46> having stolen Newton's invention, but by denying the essential identity of the two methods, and by affirming that they are so different as to be considered 'unlike things,' than which nothing can, in our judgment, be more uncandid.


Homo doctus, sed novus, et parum peritus rerum anteactarum cognitor.


Vanæ et injustæ vociferationes.


The additions thus made at different times to the original committee, were first pointed out by Professor De Morgan, and were unknown to all preceding writers. The discovery was a very important one, as it had been asserted by Newton that the committee was a numerous one, consisting of persons of different nations, which was certainly not the character of the original committee. As Professor De Morgan has been led, after an anxious examination of the subject, "to differ from the general opinion in England as to the manner in which Leibnitz was treated," his defence of Newton's veracity was a graceful contribution, and cannot fail to give weight to his other opinions. — See his paper in the Philosophical Transactions, vol. xlvi. pp. 107-109.


"There may have been," says Professor De Morgan, "and I often suspect there was, something of truth in the surmise of Leibnitz, who thought that the near prospect of the Hanoverian succession created some dislike against the subject <49> and servant of the obnoxious Elector on the minds of the Jacobite portion of English science." "Amicus Anglus ad me scribit," says Leibnitz, "videri [eos qui parum Domui Hanoveranæ favent] aliquibus non tam et Mathematicos et Societatis Regiæ Socios in Socium, sed ut Toryos in Whigium quosdam egesse." — Philosophical Transactions, 1846, p. 108. Newton himself was a Whig, and a friend of the House of Hanover.


This work was not published for sale, and as the few copies of it which were printed were distributed as presents, it became so scarce that Raphson tells us, "it was not to be met with among the booksellers."


Newton states that a copy of the Commercium was sent to Leibnitz by the Resident of the Elector of Hanover, above a year before this, and several copies to Leipsic, one of which was for him.            MS.


Letters to the Count de Bothmar in Des Maizeaux's Recueil de Diverses Pièces, &c. tom. ii. p. 44.


See Acta Eruditorum, 1713, Feb., p. 77, and Mart., p. 155.


Commerc. Phil. et Math. G. G. Leibnitii et J. Bernoulli, tom. ii. pp. 308, 311.

[68] For May and June, pp. 208-217.


Remarques sur le Different enfre M. de Leibnitz et M. Newton, November and December, 1713, pp. 445-453.


This letter, in the Latin edition of it in the Charta Volans, referred, as we have stated, to Bernoulli, in the sentence quemadmodum ab eminente quodam mathematico dudum notatus est. The reference was continued in the French edition; but in another edition of the Charta Volans, which Leibnitz published two years afterwards in the Nouvelles Littéraires, December 28, 1715, p. 414, he omitted the above passage, as if to fix the authorship on Bernoulli; and in a letter to Madame Kilmansegg, dated April 18, 1716, he inserted a copy of the obnoxious letter, without the passage referred to, and without any hesitation ascribed it to Bernoulli.


There are several copies of this paper among Newton's manuscripts.


This paper, occupying forty-two pages, was drawn up with great care with the assistance of Sir Isaac, four of whose letters to Keill on the subject, dated April 2, 20, May 11, 15, 1714, have been published by Mr. Edleston. I have now before me the originals of six letters from Keill to Newton, dated May 2, 17, 19, 21, and June 29, 1714. In Newton's letter of April 2, he says that Keill "need not set his name to it." In Keill's reply of the 2d May, sending a part of his answer, he says, that "he never saw a bad cause defended with so much face and impudence before." He is to take Leibnitz "to task for filching of series," and he is "for putting his name to it;" for he adds, "I have said nothing but what is fully made out, and they have, on the contrary, thrown all the dirt and scandal they could without proving anything they have said, and therefore they thought it best to conceal their names. I believe Wolfius is the author of the Latin letter, for it is exactly agreeable to his caution and honesty, who is inferior to nobody but Mr. Leibnitz in prevarication. Dr. Halley and I do often drink your health. He and I are both of opinion that there should be fifty copies of the Commercium sent over to Johnson, (the publisher of the Journal Littéraire, to whom they were subsequently sent), and that there should be advertisements in the foreign Gazettes, that the original letters of the Commercium are in such a man's hands, to be viewed by gentlemen that are to travel in England, and particularly the letter with Gregory's quadrature of the circle." In his letters of the 25th and 29th June, he sends "the whole of his answer to Bernoulli and the Leipsic rogues, for you and Dr. Halley to change or take away what you please."


Leibnitz had not at this time written the letter to Bothmar or Madame Kilmansegg, declaring that Bernoulli was the author of it.


"Fallunt haud dubie qui me tibi detulerunt tanquam auctorem quarundam ex Schedis istis volantibus, in quibus forsan non satis honorifica tui fit mentio. Sed obsecro te, vir inclyte, atque per omnia humanitatis sacra obtestor ut tibi certo persuadeas, quicquid hoc modo sine nomine in lucem prodierit, id mihi falso imputari. . . . . Absit autem ut credam Leibnitium, virum sane optimum me nominando fucum vobis facere voluisse. Credibile namque potius est ipsum vel sua vel aliorum conjectura fuisse deceptum. . . . . Non tamen omni culpa vacabit quod tam temere et imprudenter aliquid proscripserit cujus nullam habebat notitiam."


The late John Bernoulli, speaking of the conduct of Leibnitz to his grandfather, says, Il commit l'indiscrétion de le trahir. — Mém. Acad. Berlin, 1799, 1800. Hist. p. 41.


The passage is curious, and it is obvious that the editor has omitted a part of the letter unfit for the public eye. "Satis apparet Newtonum id egisse suis blanditiis, ut benevolentiam tuam captaret; conscium sibi quam non recto stent talo quæ molitus est. Ego tamen etsi nolim, ut in mei gratiam tibi negotium facessas, expecto tamen ab equitate tua et candore, ut profitearis apud amicos quam primum, et publice data occasione, calculum Newtoni nostro posteriorem tibi videri." . . . . . . . — Commercium Phil. et Math. G. G. Leibnitii et J. Bernoullii, tom. ii. pp. 313, 314.


Ibid. Ibid., tom. ii. p. 314.


Ibid. Ibid., pp. 320. 321.


See Des Maizeaux, tom. ii. p. 116.


Mr. Weld, in his History of the Royal Society, vol. i. p. 415, and Phil. Mag. July 1847, p. 35, states that Professor De Morgan and I have committed a curious and grave mistake in adopting this opinion of Leibnitz; and that it was at the request of some of our most eminent philosophers that he corrected the mistake by publishing the resolution of the Society, as, if our views of the resolution were adopted, "a strong case would be made out against Newton." The Society never adopted the Report, in the sense of adopting, as a body, the opinion of their committee. They simply agreed to receive it, and ordered it to be printed. His autem die Aprilis 24, 1712, acceptis, Societas Regia Collectionem, &c &c, imprimi jussit. The cause of Newton was not affected by the adoption of the Report as their decision, and the resolution to re-consider it can mean nothing more than to express their willingness, which Newton himself often did, to receive any new information from Leibnitz or his friends, <59> and even to publish it in the Transactions. That Newton himself was of the opinion which we have been maintaining, is proved by a passage in his Remarks on Leibnitz's letter to Conti, where he says, in the month of May 1716, "If they (the Royal Society) have not yet given judgment against him, it is because the committee did not act as a jury, nor the Royal Society as a formal court of justice." . . . "And it is sufficient that the Society ordered their Report, with the papers upon which it is grounded, to be published." — Raphson's Fluxions, p. 112.


Published in Raphson's History of Fluxions, pp. 119, 121, and in the Additamenta Com. Epist., Newtoni Opera, tom. iv. pp. 614, 615.


It is published in Raphson's History of Fluxions, p. 97.


\These facts are stated in a yery interesting letter from Conti to Brook Taylor, dated May 21, 1721. It was published in the Memoirs of Brook Taylor, p. 121, and is of such importance that we have given it in APPENDIX, No. III.


This is the Recensio Commercii Epistolici, or an abstract or review of it. It occupies forty-one quarto pages, and has a preface Ad Lectorem. It was written by Sir Isaac Newton, a fact which Professor De Morgan had deduced from a variety of evidence. It was first published in the Phil. Trans. 1715, and was reprinted in Newtoni Opera, tom. iv. p. 445, and in the Journal Littéraire, torn. vii. pp. 113, 345. See Phil. Mag. June 1852.


A few days after this letter was written, April 13, Leibnitz wrote to Bernoulli that the "English dispute was renewed, and that Newton, when he saw that Keill was reckoned unworthy of an answer, had descended into the arena." He tells him "that Newton knows that the letter (of June 7, 1713) was his, and that he had described it 'as written by a mathematician, or a pretended mathematician,' as if he were ignorant of your merits, calling the whole Chart (the Charta Volans) defamatory, as if it were more calumnious than the additions to the Commercium Epistolicum." In replying to this letter, on the 20th May 1716, Bernoulli considers it fortunate that Newton has descended into the arena to fight in his own name, and without a mask. He expresses much confidence in his candour, and hopes that the historical truth will now be elicited. The most curious part of the letter, however, is the following passage: "I wonder how Newton could know that I was the author of that letter which you inserted in the Charta published against Newton, since no mortal knew that I wrote it except yourself to whom it was written, and I, by whom it was written." He then refers to Leibnitz's interpretation of the phrase pretended mathematician, as if it accused him of ignorance, and he shows very satisfactorily that it bore another meaning, (the real meaning of Newton as avowed in his remarks on Leibnitz's letter), in no way derogatory from his mathematical knowledge. In Leibnitz's next letter of the 7th June, he makes no reference to Bernoulli's expression of wonder, and has not the honesty to tell him that he had himself communicated the secret to Count Bothma,. and published it. See the Commercium Epistolicum Phil. et. Math. Leibnitii et Bernoullii, tom. ii. pp. 375, 377, 378.


Some time after this M. Remond de Montmort seems to have remonstrated with John Bernoulli, on the subject of defying the English analysts to the solution of problems. We do not know where this letter is to be seen, but we have found among Newton's papers Bernoulli's reply to it written after the death of Leibnitz, and dated 8th April 1717. In this reply, which he requested Remond to send to Newton, he protests that he had neither the inclination nor the leisure to enter into disputes with the English, or to defy them. It was Leibnitz, he says, who asked him for some problem which could be proposed to the English, and particularly to Keill, and of such a nature that it required a knowledge of their methods to solve. Leibnitz asked him to keep this a secret, in order that it might some day be of use to them against those who wished to defy them. "I imagined," he says, "a problem which seemed to have the qualities he desired, and I sent him two solutions that he might propose it to the English under his own name. I had reason, therefore, to be astonished when I saw that he had given me up as the author, and proposed the problem in spite of me, and even as if it had been done at my instigation. Have the goodness then to disabuse Mr. Newton of his opinion on this matter, and assure him from me that I never had the intention of trying the English by these sort of defiances, and I desire nothing so much as to live in friendship with him, and to find an opportunity of showing him how much I esteem his rare merit. I never speak of him, indeed, without much praise. It is, however, greatly to be desired that he would take the trouble of inspiring his friend Mr. Keill with sentiments of kindness and equity towards foreigners, and leave such in possession of what really belongs to them. For to desire to exclude us from every pretension would be a crying injustice." —See APPENDIX, No. IV.


It was entitled Epistola pro Eminente Mathematico, Do. Joanne Bernoullio contra quendam ex Anglia antagonistam scripta, and was published in the Acta Eruditorum for July 1716, pp. 296-315.


Mém. de Berlin, 1802, Hist., pp. 60-65.


Mem. Acad. Berlin, 1799, 1800, p. 47. The interpolation here referred to as an act of Leibnitz, is one of singular dishonesty. Bernoulli, in his letter to Wolf, <68> states that he first taught the exponential calculus; but in place of this statement, they make Bernoulli say that he was only the first who taught it publicly, and then they add what he never said, "Far be it for me to deny that it was first made known by Leibnitz," — thus making Bernoulli himself surrender his discovery to his rival. — Mém. Acad. Berlin, 1802, pp. 57, 58.


De Trajectoriis, &c. &c., in the Acta Eruditorum, 1718, pp. 261, 262.


Mém. Acad. Berlin, 1799, 1800, pp. 41, 42.


In a letter to Newton, dated May 17, 1717, Keill thus speaks of it: — "A friend of mine brought me the Acta the other day, and I was amazed at the impudence of Bernoulli. I believe there was never such a piece for falsehood, malice, envy, and ill-nature, published by a mathematician before. It is certainly wrote by himself, for though be speaks of Bernoulli always in the third person, yet towards the latter end of his paper, he forgot himself, and says that nobody but the antagonist can persuade himself that my formula was taken from Newton's." In a letter from Newton to Keill, May 2, 1718, he says that the meam solutionem "lays the letter upon Bernoulli." — See Edleston's Correspondence, Lett, xciii. p. 186.


We have found among Newton's papers a fair copy of this answer in French in the form of a letter to Bernoulli; and also Newton's annotations in separate folio sheets. It is doubtless another copy of the same piece, which Mr. Edleston found among the Lucasian papers, and which he justly supposes to be the libellum editum aut non editum to which Bernoulli refers in the Acta Eruditorum for May <70> 1719, p. 218, containing some vulgar and impertinent abuse of Keill as his antagonista Scotus — homo quidem natione Scotus, qui apud suos inclaruit moribus, ita apud exteros jam passim notus odio plusquam vatiniano quo flagrat, &c. — See Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. 178; see also Newton's letter to Keill in p. 185, and note, p. 186, of the same Correspondence.


The death of Leibnitz was notified to Newton by the Abbé Conti, who was then at Hanover, in a letter dated November 1716. "M. Leibnitz," he says, "est mort, et la dispute est finie." After mentioning the manuscripts of Leibnitz, which he hopes the King will show him, he adds, "Je remarquerai s'il y a quelque chose touchant votre dispute, mais peut-etre qu'on cachera ce qui ne fait point d'honneur à la mémoire de M. Leibnitz."


These remarks, without a date, but written on the receipt of Leibnitz's letter of the 9th April, were first printed in Raphson's Fluxions, p. 111. They were afterwards translated into French, and published in Des Maizeaux's Recueil. I have found in the Portsmouth Papers the French proof, containing, in Newton's own hand, numerous corrections and several small additions to the Remarks, one of which mentions the month of May 1716, as the date when they were written.


This letter, dated May 2, 1718, has been published by Mr. Edleston, in his Correspondence, &c. in pp. 185, 186.


In an unpublished letter, dated May 23, 1718.


Newton had, in 1717, sent to Nicolas Bernoulli a copy of the second edition of the Principia. Bernoulli's letter of thanks, dated Pavia, 31st May 1717, has been preserved.


We quote from the Latin scroll, which has no date, and of which there are two copies among the Portsmouth Papers.

[100] See p. 55.


This letter, of which an imperfect scroll has been published in the Macclesfield Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 436, as a letter from Newton to ——, is supposed by Mr. Edleston to have been addressed to Montmart. The copy which I have found is a fuller and more perfect scroll than the one published by Mr. Rigaud. — See Edleston's Correspondence, &c. p. 187, note.


Letter of Varignon to Newton, Dec. 13, 1722, and the scroll of Newton's answer.


This work was translated by M. Coste and corrected by the Abbé Varignon, whose correspondence with Newton relates principally to certain difficulties which arose with the publisher, and to Newton's reconciliation to Bernoulli.


"Des Maizeaux, Recueil de Diverses Pièces, &c. tom. ii. p. 125, line 32."


Dated Basle, Feb. 6, 1723.


This review is the Recensio, &c., mentioned in page 63, note.


Phil. Mag. June 1852, vol. iii. p. 440.


I find among these MSS. scrolls of almost the whole of the Recensio, and five or six copies in his own hand of the Ad Lectorem.


In reference to this subject, I find two remarkable letters addressed to Newton <76> in 1720, by Dr. James Wilson, mentioning to him that he possessed several of his manuscripts, and had seen others which had been in general circulation. "Among the papers," he says, "I likewise observed there were some which deduced even the first principles of geometry from the fluxion of points." These letters seem to me of such importance, that I have given them in the APPENDIX, No. V.


In the first copy of this manuscript the word Prefatio is not inserted after the title Historia, &c. In the second it is inserted, and the title erased; and in the third the title is omitted, and the word Prefatio alone inserted. Newton seems <78> to have had much difficulty in fixing upon a title. Upon a separate folio which I have found, occupying a page and a half, there are no fewer than twelve forms of it. The first is Introductio ad Recensionem Libri, &c., but all the rest are Historia Methodi, &c., with eleven variations. In the second, third, and fourth, it is Historia Methodi Analyseos, &c. In the fifth and sixth the names of both the mathematicians are omitted. In the seventh it is Historia Methodi Differentialis, with both names omitted. In the eighth the change is remarkable. The title is Historia Methodi Analyseos per Fluxiones et Momenta a D. Newtoni inventæ, a D. Leibnitio Differentialis nominatæ, ex literis antiquis deducta. In the ninth, tenth, and eleventh, it is Hist. Meth. Fluxionum, &c.; and in the twelfth Differentialis is placed above Fluxionum.


"Secundis Inventoribus, etiam revera talibus, vel exiguus vel nullus honor, tituli vel juris nihil est." — Recensio, Newtoni Opera, tom. iv. p. 487.


We cannot here discuss this important subject. Such of our readers as take an interest in it, are referred to the North British Review, vol. vii. p. 233, &c., where it is treated in reference to the rival claims of Adams and Leverrier.




We have made no reference to the singular opinion of Raphson and of Dr. James Wilson, that Leibnitz may have deciphered the anagram in which Newton concealed his method. See APPENDIX, No. V. — P.S. to letter of January 21, 1720-1. See also Professor De Morgan's paper in the Companion to the Almanac for 1852, p. 10.


Analysis Fluxionum, p. 2, § 5.


Professor De Morgan, ut supra.


Die Entdeckung der Differentialrechnung durch Leibnitz. Von der C. G. Gerhardt, 4to. Halle, 1848. See Professor De Morgan, Companion to the Almanac for 1852 pp. 17,18.


Ibid., p. 17. See p. 30, note.


Dr. Keill, Newton's principal champion, and who so nobly fought his battles, has been ungenerously treated by some of the historians of science. With his private letters to Newton before us, we have formed a high opinion both of his talents and character. Everything he did was open and manly, and he did nothing without the instruction and approbation of Newton and his friends.


His celebrated letter of the 9th April 1716, already described. See p. 64, and APPENDIX, No. IV. An instructive account of an instance of bad faith towards Leibnitz, on the part of Bernoulli, is given by his own grandson in the Mém. Acad. Berlin, 1802, pp. 51-66.


This anecdote is given in still stronger language by M. Biot in his Life of Newton, Biog. Univers., tom. xxxi. p. 178.


Memorandum sent to me by the late Rev. Mr. Turner, and Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. xlii.


This must have been a refracting telescope.


In the Memorandum by the late Rev. Mr. Turnor above mentioned, he says, "I have some recollection that Mr. Jones the tutor mentioned, in one of his lectures on optics, that the reflecting telescope belonging to Sir Isaac Newton was then <86> lodged in the observatory over the gateway; and I am inclined to think I once saw it, and that a finder was affixed to it."


Turner's Newtoniana, in the possession of the Royal Society.


Wickins, (Ds. Wickins), to whom Newton had frequently lent money, as we have stated in vol. i. p. 32, note, died on the 19th April 1719. See Gentleman's Magazine, April 1802.


We have given this and the two following letters verbatim, as possessing a higher degree of interest than any abstract of them that could be made.


The following method of making the Leucatello's Balsam I have found in Sir Isaac's own hand: "Put Venus turpentine one pound into a pint of the best damask rose-water; beat these together till it look white, then take four ounces of bees-wax, red sanders half an ounce, oil of olives of the best a pint, one ounce of oil of St. John's wort, and half a pint of sack. Set it (the sack) on the fire in a new pipkin, add to it the oil and wax, let it stand on a soft fire where it must not boil, but melt till it be scalding hot. Then take it off. When it is cold, take out the cake, and scrape off the dirt from the bottom. Take out the sack, wipe the pipkin, put in the cake again, set it on the fire, let them melt together, and then put in also the turpentine and sanders; let them not boil, but be well melted and mixed together; take it off and stir it now and then till it is cold. If you would have it to take inwardly, add to it when it is off from the fire, half an ounce of powder of scuchineal (cochineal) and a little natural balsam.

"For the measell, plague, or smallpox, a half an ounce in a little broth, take it warm, and sweat after it. And against poison and the biting of a mad dog; for the last you must dip lint and lay it upon the wound, besides taking it inwardly. There are other virtues of it; for wind, cholic, anoint the stomach, and so for bruises."

Mrs. Vincent told Dr. Stukely that Sir Isaac was a great Simpler. The Doctor says that "his breakfast was orange-peel boiled in water, which he drank as tea, sweetened with sugar, and with bread and butter. He thinks this dissolves phlegm." Lord Pembroke told the Doctor that when Newton "got a cold, he lay in bed till it was gone, though for two or three days' continuance, and thus came off the illness by perspiration."


Dr. Stukely says, that "Mr. Newton of this town was five years under Sir Isaac's tuition at Cambridge."


The passage alluded to in Dr. Stukely's letter was the following: — When Sir Isaac once laughed, "'twas upon occasion of asking a friend, to whom he had lent <92> Euclid to read, what progress he had made in that author, and how he liked him? He answered hy desiring to know what use and benefit in life that study would be to him. Upon which Sir Isaac was very merry." — Stukely's Letter to Dr. Mead.


Afterwards Sir John Ellis, Master of Caius.


See Charles Montague's letter to Newton in Chap. xix., and Monk's Life of Bentley, pp. 224, 226, 346, 360.


John Francis Vigani, a native of Verona, after having taught chemistry at Cambridge for twenty years, was invested by the University with the title of Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Bentley fitted up for him in Trinity College an old lumber <93> house, as an elegant chemical laboratory, in which he lectured for some years. — Monk's Life of Bentley, p. 159. His lectures still exist in manuscript in the University library.

Among the anecdotes collected by Conduitt, I find the following relative to this chemist. It is signed C. C., (Catherine Conduitt,) Sir Isaac's niece. "Upon Vigani's (with whom he was very intimate, and took great pleasure in discoursing with him on chemistry) telling him a loose story about a nun, he broke off all acquaintance with him." — C. C.


Dr. Stukely mentions some other anecdotes of Newton's absence: — "When he had friends to entertain, if he went into his study to fetch a bottle of wine, there was danger of his forgetting them. He would sometimes put on his surplice to go to St. Mary's church." When he was "going home to Colsterworth from Grantham, he once led his horse up Spittlegate Hill, at the town-end. When he designed to remount, his horse had slipped the bridle and gone away without his perceiving it, and he had only the bridle in his hand all the while." — Letter to Conduitt.

"Newton formerly would go the length of a street before he came to himself and saw that he was not dressed, and therefore had to hasten back to his house quite ashamed." — Krausen's Umständliche Bücher Historie, part i. p. 2. Leipsic, 1715. —


Dr. Stukeley informs us, "that he heard him say, that during the course of his most intense studies, he learned to go to bed at twelve, finding, by experience, that if he exceeded that hour but a little, it did him more harm in his health than a whole day's study."


Dr. Stukely says, that "he wrote a piece of chemistry, explaining the principles of that mysterious art upon experimental and mathematical proof, and he valued it much; but it was unluckily burned in his laboratory, which casually took fire. He would never undertake that work again, — a loss much to be regretted. Mr. Newton, of this town, tells me likewise, that several sheets of his Optics were burnt by a candle left in his room, but I suppose he could recover them again." Dr. Newton, as we see above, gives this only as a report.


I have not been able to discover what writings are here alluded to. They may have been his theological writings, such as his Irenicum, or, "Doctrines tending to Peace," which will be afterwards noticed.


This was the famous frost of 1683-4, which hegan early in December, and continued without intermission till the 5th of February.


"The Sacred Theory of the Earth, containing an account of the original of the Earth, and of all the general changes which it hath already undergone, or is to undergo, till the consummation of all things." The Latin edition was published in 4to in 1681, and at the King's request, it was translated into English, the first part, in folio, appearing in 1684, and the second in 1689.


The copy of this letter, which I have found along with the last of Burnet's, among the Portsmouth papers, is in Newton's own hand, but has no date or signature. The two first letters of the correspondence I have not met with.


As this letter is very interesting, I have given it in the APPENDIX, No. VI.


These views of Leibnitz are contained in his Protogœa, an Essay which he published in the Leipsic Journal for 1683. It was published separately at Göttingen by Scheidius in 1749. See the Acta Eruditorum, 1717.


"See vol. i. chap. xii. p. 301. One of these letters is addressed to Crompton, and the other to Flamsteed. This last letter is dated 1680 in place of 1681, in the General Dictionary, vol. vii. p. 791


I find among these papers a table showing the R. ascension, declination, and culmination of the comet, from December 16, 1680, to February 1, 1681, as made in Maryland, America, in west longitude 75°, and north latitude 38° 30′, by Mr. Arthur Storer, a nephew of Dr. Babington, at the river Patuxant, near Hunting Creek. See Newtoni Opera, tom. iii. p. 145; Principia, lib. iii. prop. xli.


March 7, 1681. This is the letter which I have said is not extant, in vol. i. p. 302, note 1.


I found half of Hill's letter to Flamsteed, dated Canterbury, Dec. 29, 1681, containing observations on the comet in Nov. 11, 1680, and Jan. 3, and Feb. 3, 1681.


Newton afterwards acknowledged, in the Principia, the correctness of Flamsteed's opinion.


See vol. i. p. 303, note.


April 16, 1681. General Dictionary, vol. vii. p. 791


This portion of the letter seems to have been intended to be sent to Flamsteed through Crompton. See APPENDIX, No. VII.


All the published letters except one are from Newton to Flamsteed; and this one from Flamsteed to Newton, dated Sept. 25, 1685, is very different from the one published, which must have been printed from a scroll, and greatly altered by Flamsteed. The unpublished letters, six in number, were written between December 1684 and October 1686.


Mr. Macaulay says, and no doubt on good authority, that this was the venerable Duke of Ormond. I have followed, in the list of governors present, a manuscript account of the meeting, which was sent to Sir Isaac Newton, and which contains the names of those who voted for and against the mandate.


See Macaulay's Hist. of England, vol. ii. pp. 293, 294.


This interesting anecdote I found in a manuscript of Mr. Conduitt, intended for insertion in his proposed Life of Newton.


"The Chancellor Jeffrys," says Mr. Edleston, "alluded twice to his having himself formerly been a member of the University. Until some other College can establish a claim to him, Trinity College is liable to the suspicion of having had him for an alumnus. A 'Georgius Jeffreys' was admitted pensioner there March 15th, 1661-2, under Mr. Hill, and he would therefore be a year junior to Newton:' — Correspondence, &c. p. lviii. note 90.


See Burnet's Hist. of his Times, vol. ii. p. 697, or 8vo edit. vol. iii. p. 149. — Macaulay's Hist. of England, vol. ii. p. 180.


Dr. Pechel was restored to his offices on the 24th of October 1688. "After the Revolution he starved himself to death, in consequence of having been rebuked by Archbishop Sancroft for drunkenness and other loose habits; and after four days' abstinence, would have eaten, but could not." — Note of Lord Dartmouth upon Burnet's Hist. vol. ii. p. 698, or vol. iii. 8vo, p. 150.


See Macaulay's Hist. &c. vol. ii. p. 287, &c.


When the late Duke of Somerset, as his Grace informed me, visited the Marquis de Laplace at Arcueil, he found him in his study dressed in a sort of uniform, prepared to go to the Senate. Having in his hand the first edition of the Principia, he said to the Duke, "This is the best book that was ever written."


See vol. i. p. 308, and APPENDIX, vol. i., No. VIII

[161] The other letters are given in vol. i., APPENDIX, No. XII., p.465.


The votes stood thus: —

Sir Robert Sawyer,125 Mr. Newton,122 Mr. Finch,117

In some of the voting papers he is called præclarus vir, and in others, doctissimus, integerrimus, venerabilis et reverendus. — Edleston Correspondence, &c., p. lix.


In referring to the publication of the Principia, Laplace remarks "that the principles of the social system were laid in the following year, and that Newton concurred in their establishment." — Système du Monde, p. 372. Edit. 1824.


Thirteen Letters from Sir Isaac Newton to Dr. Covel, printed in 1848 by Dawson Turner, Esq., from the originals in his possession.


Thirteen Letters, &c., pp. 9, 10.


See APPENDIX, No. VIII. In the library of Queen's College, Oxford, (cclxxxiv. fol. 143,) there is a paper entitled "Reasons given for the taking the oaths of allegiance to King William, by I. N." This is doubtless an extract from Newton's letter to Covel.


Newton appears not to haTe enjoyed good health during his residence in London. He was confined to his room for some days in the middle of March, and in May he was attacked by "a cold and bastard pleurisy." His address was "at Mr. More's house, in the broad century at the west end of Westminster Abbey."


See vol. i. pp. 339, 340.


See vol. i. p. 215.

[170] Cole's MSS., vol. xvi. folio 350.


Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. lix. note 96.


June 30th, 1691.


Dec. 13, 1691.


Jan. 26, 1691-2.


Feb. 16, 1691-2.


In these letters, which are published in Lord King's Life of Locke, Edit. 1830, vol. i. pp. 400-414, there are interesting details about Newton's Historical account of two notable corruptions of Scripture, to which we shall return when we treat of his theological writings.


See vol. i., APPENDIX, p. 463.


Baily's Flamsteed, p. 129.


Wallisii Opera, vol. ii. pp. 391-396. This communication was contained in two letters, dated August 27, and September 17, 1692.


Dated 717 March 1693, published in Raphson's Fluxions, pp. 119, 120.


This letter is dated Cambridge, 1626 October 1693, and is published in Edleston's Correspondence, &c., Appendix, No. xxiv. p. 276.


This letter, of which there is only a fragment, is dated Cambridge, July 7, 1692, and is published in Edleston's Correspondence, &c., Appendix, No. xxiii. p. 275.


I have given this unpublished letter in the APPENDIX, No. IX.


August 2, 1692, published in King's Life of Locke, vol ii. pp. 410-414.


These letters, which were first printed by Richard Cumberland in 1756, and reviewed by Dr. Samuel Johnson in the Literary Magazine, vol. i, p. 89, have been reprinted in Dr. Horsley's Newtoni Opera, vol. iv. pp. 429-442; and in Nichol's Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century, vol. iv. pp. 50-60; but in both these works, the third and fourth letters are transposed, as their dates will show.


See vol. i., APPENDIX, p. 463.


Dated December 10, 1692. This letter is indorsed in Bentley's hand. — "Mr. Newton's answer to some queries sent by me after I had preached my two last sermons." — Monk's Life of Bentley, p. 34, note.


Dated Jan. 17, 1692-3.


Dated February 11, 16923.


Dated February 19, 16923, and printed in APPENDIX, No. X. This is the only letter of Bentley's on this subject which I have found aniong the Portsmouth Papers.


Dated February 25, 16923.


"These things," says he, "follow from my Principia Math. lib. i. prop. 33-36."


The originals of these four letters "were given by Dr. Richard Bentley to Richard Cumberland, his nephew and executor, while a student at Trinity College, and were printed by him in a separate pamphlet in 1756. This publication was reviewed by Dr. Samuel Johnson in the Literary Magazine, vol. i. p. 89. See Johnson's Works, vol. ii. p. 328. In one or two cases Newton acknowledges that he had not before considered some of the conclusions from his own discoveries, and that some of the queries proposed by Bentley were new to him. Whence Dr. Johnson beautifully remarks "how even the mind of Newton gains ground gradually upon darkness." Dr. Monk, who notices this remark, justly observes, that as Bentley "availed himself of all the suggestions of his illustrious correspondent, his reasonings and conclusions appear with the highest of all human sanctions, and this department <131> of natural theology has perhaps never yet been so satisfactorily illustrated." — Life of Bentley, p. 34.


The views of Newton and Bentley, so distinctive of the College which they adorned, have been maintained and illustrated, with all the lights of modern science, by Professor Sedgwick in his noble Discourse on the Studies of the University.


Life of Newton, Biog. Universelle, tom. xxxi. p. 168.


It appears from a letter of Newton to Flamsteed, that he had proposed Sir Collins, of "this University," as one of the candidates for the vacancy in Christ Hospital, <132> occasioned by the resignation of Mr. Paget. He thought that he had mathematics enough, though young and inexperienced. From Flamsteed's unpublished reply to this letter, it would appear that Sir Collins was a son of John Collins, Newton's great and early friend. "Young Collins," he says, "may live to restore it, (the Hospital,) whom, therefore, you may do well to encourage to mind these studies. I doubt not he will be good in algebra; that was his father's talent. Astronomy will be most useful in the school. Our teachers in town understand little of it. Pray advise him to study the theory of the planets, and to make himself expert in calculation. Though I never saw him, yet for his father's sake, my good friend, and his own good report, he shall find me always ready to serve him." — April 27, 1695.


M. Uylenbroek, the editor of the correspondence between Huygens and Leibnitz, has given in an appendix the correct text of this passage, with his own observations upon it: —

"29 Maj. 1694. — Narravit mihi D. Colm (not Colin) Scotus virum celeberrimum ac summum geometram Is. Neutonum in phrenesin incidisse abhine anno et sex mensibus. An ex nimia studii assiduitate, an dolore infortunii, quod incendio laboratorium chymicum et scripta quædam amiserat? Cum ad Archiepiscopum Cantabrigiensem (Cantuariensem, as Mr. Edleston conjectures) venisset, ea locutum, quæ alienationem mentis indicarent. Deinde ab amicis cura ejus susceptam, domoque clauso remedia volenti nolenti adhibita, quibus jam sanitatem recuperavit, ut jam rursus librum suum Principiorum Philosophiæ Mathematicorum intelligere incipiat."

M. Uylenbroek adds his own opinion of the matter, as explained in my former Life of Newton: — "Hæc Colmi narratio, quam ex his ipsis MSS., Hugeniensis petitam, quondam evulgaverat Biotus, nuperrime Brewstero ansam præbuit inquirendi utrum revera Newtonus mentis morbo correptus fuerit necne. Testimonia, quæ attulit vir Cl. ea esse videntur e quibus probabiliter efficias Newtonum, currente anno 1692, solita mentis, corporisque valetudine non fuisse usum, at non ita eum morbo decubuisse ut eo impeditus fuerit quo minus studiis suis vacaret." — Christiani Hugenii Exercitationes Mathematicæ. Ed. P. J. Uylenbrock, fascic. ii. p. 171, Hag. An. 1833.


He made the same communication to the Marquis L'Hospital on the 16th June. Ch. Hug. Exercit. Math, fascic. i. p. 318.

[199] Ibid. fascic. i. p. 182.


Unpublished letter to Conduitt, April 7, 1727.


Correspondence, &c. pp. lxii. lxiii.


This observation, which is in another edition of the manuscript, is not inconsistent with the statement of Newton's having "worked them over again."


"Newton's temper was so mild and equal, that scarce any accident disturbed him. One instance in particular, which is authenticated by a person now living (1780,) brings this assertion to a proof. Sir Isaac being called out of his study to a contiguous room, a little dog called Diamond, the constant but incurious attendant of his master's researches, happened to be left among the papers, and by a fatality not to be retrieved, as it was in the latter part of Sir Isaac's days, threw down a lighted candle, which consumed the almost finished labours of some years. Sir Isaac returning too late but to behold the dreadful wreck, rebuked the author of it with an exclamation, (ad sidera palmas,) "O Diamond ! Diamond! thou little knowest the <139> mischief done!' without adding a single stripe." — Notes to Maude's Wensleydale, p. 102, fourth edit. 1816. M. Biot gives this piece of fiction as a true story, which happened in some year after the publication of the Principia, and he characterizes the accident as having deprived the sciences for ever of the fruit of so much of Newton's labours. Dr. Wallis received another edition of the story from his correspondent Sturm, a professor at Altorf. "Sturm sends me word of a rumour amongst them concerning Mr. Newton, as if his house and hooks, and all his goods were burnt, and himself so disturbed in mind thereupon as to be reduced to very ill circumstances; which being all false, I thought fit presently to rectify that groundless mistake." — Letter to Waller, Secretary to the Royal Society, quoted by Mr. Edleston from the Letter-book of the Royal Society. See pp. 93 and 97.


We entirely concur with Mr. Edleston in his opinion that this story refers to an antecedent period. It is obviously a repetition of the story referred to by Dr. Newton respecting the burning of the Optics before 1684.


In the Journal des Savans, 1832, p. 325, M. Biot has tried to reconcile these facts and dates by arguments which have been so ably exposed and refuted by Mr. Edleston, who entirely concurs with the view I have taken of the subject, that any further controversy is unnecessary. The evidence of Dr. Humphrey Newton leaves no doubt whatever that the fire in Sir Isaac's room took place before 1684. — See Correspondence, &c. pp. lx.-lxlii.


See Newtoni Opera, tom. iv. p. 480; and Wallisii Opera, 1693, tom. ii. pp. 391-396.


Optics, part iv. obs. 13.

[208] Dated January 29, 1964.

[209] See p.37


Gentleman's Magazine, tom. lxxxiv. p. 3, 1814.


The three first letters above-mentioned have been published by Lord Braybrooke in his Memoirs of Samuel Pepys, vol. ii. pp. 131-135: Lond. 1825. The fourth letter I have given in the APPENDIX, No. IX., in order to complete the published correspondence.


The system of Hobbes was at this time very prevalent. According to Dr. Bentley, "the taverns and coffee-houses, nay, Westminster Hall, and the very churches, were full of it;" and he was convinced, from personal observation, that "not one English infidel in a hundred was other than a Hobbist."— Monk's Life of Bentley, p. 31.


Newton and Locke occasionally corresponded on theological subjects. In the autumn of 1702, Newton visited Locke at Oates, and having read his Essay on the Corinthians, he promised to give him his observations and opinion upon it after a more careful perusal. Locke accordingly sent it to him before Christmas 1702; but in consequence of receiving no answer, he wrote to him again on the 30th April 1703, and received his observations in a letter dated May 15, 1703, published by Lord King. In this letter Newton tells him that he had purposed to pay him a visit at Oates, on his way to Cambridge, in summer, but was "now uncertain of this journey." We believe they never met again. Locke died on the 28th October 1704, in the seventy-third year of his age; and it has been stated that Newton visited his tomb at High Laver, in Essex, in all probability when he paid his next visit to Cambridge.


"The draft of this letter is indorsed J. L. to I. Newton." I have not found the original among Newton's papers.


The letter of Dr. Mill, dated Nov. 7, 1693, I found among Newton's papers. That of Newton, dated Jan. 29, 16934, is preserved in the library of Queen's College, Oxford, and is No. 26 of the printed Catalogue. Having been kindly favoured with a copy of this letter by Dr. Fox, I have given both of them in the APPENDIX, No. XII., as they possess a peculiar interest.


"Quoniam varii errores in propositiones 37 et 38 (Lib. 2) irrepsisse, illos omnes restitutos hic apponam, prout in auctoris exemplari inveni, ineunte Maio 1694, dum Cantabrigiæ hærerem, consulendi divini auctoris gratia." — MS. of David Gregory, Rigaud, Hist. Essay/>, p. 100. Mr. Rigaud adds, that this is "the place in which Fatio says he convinced Newton of his mistakes." See Edinburgh Transactions, 1829, vol. xii. p. 71.


The following account of this affair is given by Mr. Edleston from De la Pryme's Diary: — "On {the} Monday {night} likewise, there being a great number of people at the door {of the haunted house, — it was a house opposite St. John's College, in the occupation of Valentine Austin,} there chanced to come by Mr. Newton, Fellow of Trinity College, a very learned man, and perceiving our Fellows to have gone in {three Fellows of St. John's, with a Fellow Commoner of that College, had rushed in armed with pistols,} and seeing several scholars about the door, 'Oh ye fools!' says he, 'will ye never have any wit? know ye not that all such things are mere cheats and impostures? fie, fie! go home for shame,' and so he left them, scorning to go in." In this Diary, to which we have already referred, there is a full account of the proceedings of the "spirit," which the writer of the Diary had received in a letter from Cambridge. — Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. lxiv.


Dr. Gregory concludes his account of this manuscript, which he kindly lent me, in the following words: — "I do not know whether it is true, as stated by Huygens, 'Newtonum incidisse in Phrenitim;' but I think every gentleman who examines this manuscript will be of opinion that he must have thoroughly recovered from his phrenitis before he wrote either the Commentary on the Opinions of the Ancients, or the Sketch of his own Theological and Philosophical Opinions which it contains." An account of this manuscript, by Dr. J. Gregory, has been published in the Edinburgh Transactions for 1829, vol. xii. pp. 64-67. — See Rigaud's Hist. Essay, p. 99.


This paragraph is as follows: — "Deum esse ens summe perfectum concedunt omnes. Entis autem summe perfecti Idea est ut sit substantia una, simplex, indivisibilis, viva et vivifica, ubique semper necessario existens, summe intelligens omnia, libere volens bona, voluntate efficiens possibilia, effectibus nobilioribus similitudinem propriam quantum fieri potest communicans, omnia in se continens tanquam eorum principium et locus, omnia per presentiam substantialem cernens et regens, et cum rebus omnibus, secundum leges accuratas ut naturæ totius fundamentum et causa constanter co-operans, nisi ubi aliter agere bonum est."


Rigaud, Hist. Essay, p. 104.

[221] Conduitt's Manuscript notes.


Dated 10th August 1691, published in Baily's Flamsteed, p. 129.


August 27, 1691, unpublished.


February 24, 1692. Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 129-133.


In sending a copy of an unpublished letter on Earthquakes to a mutual friend, dated April 10, 1693, Flamsteed says, "Give my humble service to Mr. Newton, and let him know I owe him another concerning the present state of my labours, which I shall not fail to pay him now in a short time. It may satisfy him, that they go on successfully, and tend towards what they were designed for. I have thirty maps of the constellations drawn, having observed 2200 fixed stars visible by the naked eye, and having about as many left to observe, as will make them above 3000, which is above double of the old catalogues."


This work, with a preface and note by the editor, is entitled An Account of the Rev. John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer-Royal, compiled from his own MSS., and other authentic Documents, never before published; to which is added, his British Catalogue of Stars. By Francis Baily, Esq.: Lond. 1835. 4to. Pp. 671. A Supplement appeared in January 1837, in reply to criticisms by the friends of Newton.


Baily's Flamsteed, pref., pp. xix. xx.


Mr. Baily was able to publish only eleven of Flamsteed's letters to Newton, and these not correct copies of the originals.


Eighteen letters from William Molyneux to Flamsteed, written in the most affectionate terms, and dated between September 17, 1681, and May 17, 1690, inclusive, were published in the General Dictionary, Art. MOLYNEUX, vol. vii. p. 613.


These propositions are referred to in his letter to Flamsteed, May 7, 1690.


Molyneux's Dioptrics was published in 1692, and the Life, addressed to his brother, in 1694. He died in 1698, at the age of forty-two. See An Account of the Family and Descendants of Sir Thomas Molyneux, Bart. Evesham, 1820. 4to.


See Vol. i. p. 301.


See Vol. i. p. 146.


King's Life of Locke, vol. ii. p. 38.


Biog. Brit. vol. ii. p. 256, or, The Works of GEORGE BERKELEY, D.D., Bishop of Cloyne, p. viii. Lond. 1837.


Quarterly Review, vol. lv. p. 112.


We recommend to the reader the able Defence of Halley against the Charge of Religious Infidelity, by the Rev. S. J. RIGAUD, M.A., of Ipswich, Oxford, 1844. Professor Rigaud, the author's distinguished father, a man of genuine piety, entertained the same opinion of Halley.


We owe to Halley the discovery of the secular equation of the moon.


"The following curious memorandum," says Mr. Rigaud, "is written by Dr. Gregory in the margin of his annotations on the Principia, p. 162. The subject to which he has annexed it, is the mention of Flamsteed's lunar tables, derived from the hypothesis of Horrox, (Schol. p. 462, first edit. of Principia), 'Newtonus mihi sæpe dixit, nominatim Decembri 1698, Londini, tabulas hasce fuisse ab Ed. Halleio primum factas et supputatas, et cum Joh. Flamstedio communicatas, et ab illo, inscio Halleio, editas, et propter hoc factum æternas natas esse inter Halleium et Flamstedium rixas. Newtonus dixit se vidisse autographum Halleii" — Defence of Halley, p. 20.


Flamsteed, who makes this statement in his autobiography, concludes it by saying, "All this he (Newton) approved, and by a letter of his dated . . . . . confessed. Nevertheless he imparted what he derived from them both to Dr. Gregory and Dr. Halley, contra datam fidem. The first of these conditions I believe he kept. The latter he has forgot or broke."


In defence of Newton, we may state, that in a few days after Flamsteed exacted the first of these conditions, he not only showed the same observations to Halley, but suffered him to take notes of part of them. With regard to the second condition, which he is said to have broken, we shall presently see, from an unpublished letter of Flamsteed, that he asks Newton certain questions about the moon's theory, and that Newton imparted to him his remarkable equation of the menstrual parallax. We shall find also that he imparted to him, in return for his observations, his theory and table of refractions, one of the finest productions of his genius, and of essential value to Flamsteed in the reduction of his observations, and subsequently his valuable tables of the moon's parallax, and the equations of the moon's apogee and the eccentricity of her orbit. It appears, too, from a letter of Newton of the 17th November 1694, that he asks Flamsteed to have but a little patience, and he will be the first man to whom it will be imparted, when the theory is fit to be communicated without danger of error. In consequence of the delay in getting Flamsteed's observations, he was not able to proceed any farther with the lunar theory, and his appointment to the Mint necessarily interfered with his scientific researches. His connexion with Flamsteed had ceased for many years, and therefore the brief notice of the lunar theory which he communicated to Gregory in June 1702, could not be considered as a breach of the condition under which Flamsteed brought him.

That the reader may be sufficiently aware of the rash charges which Flamsteed never scrupled to make against those who displeased him, we quote the following example contained in his own letters, which Mr. Rigaud has observed. "In 1705, Abraham Sharpe communicated to the Royal Society his quadrature of the circle; and Flamsteed writes him an account in which Halley is accused of acting most unfairly, and with a view to his own credit, about printing the papers. This was on the 20th August, and on the 11th of the following month, Flamsteed found himself obliged to retract what he said on the subject, and yet in April 1715 he had forgotten everything but what accorded with his hostile feeling, and writes to the very same man to say, 'you remember how he served you about the quadrature of the circle; after such usage, you ought to be very cautious how you treat him.'" — Defence of Halley, pp. 20, 21, and Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 244, 246, and 313.


Newton seems to have been unwell at the time of his visit to Greenwich, for Flamsteed begins this unpublished letter, dated September 7, 1694, with the intimation that he had sent him a receipt which Mr. Stanhope's sister makes use of with good effect, and wished he might find the same benefit from it. In his reply, Newton "thanks him heartily for the receipt."


Dated October 7, 1694.

The coefficient for this equation is the Sine of the sun's parallax divided by that of the moon's.

[243] Editorial Note: This Note Empty


The original of this letter differs from that published by Mr. Baily in two points. The "empirical small table of the differences of refraction of the sun and Venus in height" has been omitted in the published copy, and also the following postscript. "Mr. Halley is busy about the moon, has promised me his corrections, intends to print something about her system ere long, and affirms the moon's motion different in the times of Albategni from what it is now." I have given this table in the APPENDIX, No. XIII., in order to justify the references to it in the letters of October 11 and 24, 1694.


October 24, 1694.


October 25, 1694, unpublished


See Principia, 2d Edit. p. 481.


November 3, 1694, unpublished.


In this letter Flamsteed says, that the parallactic equation does not exceed a single vibration of the pendulum, and cannot be determined by the largest instruments.


This letter of Flamsteed's, as published by Mr. Baily, differs entirely from the letter actually sent to Newton, and must have been a scroll, which he greatly altered and enlarged. We cannot, therefore, place confidence in the abstracts of his letters to Newton, as printed by Mr. Baily. The date of the letter is December 16th, not the 6th. In the original copy of this letter, and also in the scroll, Flamsteed introduces a new charge against Halley in the following words: — "I desired you in my last to let me know if you had not been presented some years agone with a geometrical tract of Viviani's, in quarto, Latin. You have given me no answer. Pray, be free with me, and let me have one, it will much oblige." In his letter of the 27th, he had said, — "I desire you to let me know whether Mr. Halley did not, five or six years ago, present you with a geometrical piece of Viviani's in quarto?" Newton made no reply to these requests. On the 31st December, Flamsteed thus recurs to the subject: — "I must beg your pardon for having urged you twice about Viviani's book. I shall tell you the occasion, and give you no farther trouble. Mr. Rook being in Italy, received one of them directed to me by the author's own hand, which he sent to E. H. (Edmund Halley) with other things, who, I am told, presented it to you; and himself denies not that he sent it you. Now, I am not concerned for the book at all. If you had one from him, keep it either as his gift or mine; but because I have great reason to suspect a book of much greater value, directed to me, has been disposed of for advantage by a friend and acquaintance of his this last summer, and if the first had been brought to light, the latter might have been made evident; but I desire to concern you no farther with it, and therefore shall move you no more, nor expect any answer in this particular, being ever desirous to make my friends as easy as I can." To these applications Newton replied on the 26th Jan. 16945, — "About three or four months before Dr. Gregory was made Professor of Astronomy at Oxford, an Oxford gentleman, a student in mathematics, (I think his name was Rook,) called on me on his way from London, and showed me a new book published by Viviani. He offered to leave it with me to peruse; whereupon I turned over the leaves, and then returned it to him again, and he took it away with him, I think, to Oxford; and I saw it no more. I forbore to answer your first inquiries about it, because I feared it might tend to widen the breach between you and Mr. Halley, which I would rather reconcile if it were in my power. And now I hope that what I have told you will not be made use of to that purpose, lest it should also do me an injury." — See Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 144, 145, 148, 149. "I am very well satisfied," replies Flamsteed on the 29th January, "in what you tell me about Viviani's book; and you may conclude what you are to think of Mr. Halley from this, that he told me before a club of the Society that you had it. I find you understand him not so well as I do. I have had some years' experience of him, and a very fresh instance of his inge <173> nuity, with which I shall not trouble you. 'Tis enough that I suffer by him. I would not that my friends should, and therefore shall say no more, but that there needs nothing but that he show himself an honest man to make him and me perfect friends; so that if he were candid, there is nobody living in whose acquaintance I would take more pleasure; but his conversation is such that no modest man can bear it, and no good man but will shun it." The four obnoxious paragraphs in the draught of this letter, at the bottom of p. 150 of Baily's Flamsteed, do not exist in the original sent to Newton!


December 20, 1694.


See Biot's interesting observations on this theorem, and his admirable and elaborate Analysis of Newton's Tables of Refraction, with an indication of the Numerical Processes by which he computed them, in the Journal des Savans, 1836, pp. 642, 735.


January 15, 1695.


January 18, 1695.


January 26, 1695.


February 16, 1695.


Journal des Savans, November 1836, p. 655.


July 9, 1695


These passages were underlined by Flamsteed.


July 2, 1695.


The italics are in the original.


"Machin told me," says Conduitt, "that Flamsteed said 'Sir Isaac worked with the ore he had dug,' to which Sir Isaac replied, 'if he dug the ore, I made the gold ring.'" — Conduitt's MSS


July 23d, 1695.


In this letter, Flamsteed "presents him, before he demands it," with "a nonagesimary table" for every degree of right ascension, "as I would not have you want any thing that lies in my power to save you the trouble of calculation," and he closes his letter thus: "By frequent trials and alterations of his contrivances, Kepler found out the true theory of the planetary motions. You must not be ashamed to own that you follow his example. When the inequalities are found, you will more easily find the reason of them than he could do when but little of the doctrine of gravity was known."


July 27th, 1695.


In the copy of this letter in the British Museum, the words two shillings appear here with the following note. "Mr. Flamsteed altered it so for the word guineas, which is in the original, as is evident from the erasure." Professor Rigaud, at Mr. Baily's desire, examined the original letter, and found the words two guineas if you please to call for it crossed out with the pen, but no substitution of guineas for shillings. Mr. Edleston, however, who has examined the original, observes that all the words following "pay him" (in the passage given in the text in italics) are crossed out in the manuscript, and the word "guineas" altered into "shillings" apparently by Flamsteed. The words after "for them" to the end of the passage are conjectural, the original writing being most skilfully blotted out. . . . What motive Flamsteed could have had for disguising any part of the above sentence, I do not pretend to divine. It is curious that Mr. Rigaud, who examined the manuscript in reference to this very point, should have overlooked the original "guineas." — Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. lxviii. note 125


August 4, 1695.


Not on the 17th, as stated in Baily's Flamsteed, p. 160. Flamsteed's notes of his answer to Newton's letter, as usual, misrepresents its contents.


In this letter, Flamsteed tells him that "some friends of his who live at a distance in the country, have made new tables for representing the motions of the two superior planets, Jupiter and Saturn," within ten or twelve minutes of observation. I find other four letters from Flamsteed to Newton, dated September 4, December 10, 1697, December 29, 1698, and January 9, 1699. The last of these letters is a long and curious reply to Newton on the subject of his letter of the 6th January 1699, blaming Flamsteed for mentioning his theory of the moon in a letter on the parallax of the fixed stars, sent to Dr. Wallis to be printed. The consideration of these letters belongs to another Chapter.


We have already shown that this accident happened before 1684.


Newton has made no such avowal. Biot quotes, in support of his allegation, Newton's declaration to Locke, that "he had not his former consistency of mind," — a mere temporary state, from which he completely recovered.


Journal des Savans, November 1836, p. 657.


See Vol. I. APPENDIX, p. 455.


November 26th. See Edleston's Correspondence, &c. lxviii, note 126, and p. 302, Appendix.


The date of this letter should have been 16956.


Mr. Lawton, or Laughton, was a great personal friend of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Montague. He was afterwards Librarian and Chaplain of Trinity. He subsequently became Canon of Worcester and Lichfield, and gave to the Library of Trinity College a valuable collection of books. See p. 92, and Monk's Life of Bentley, pp. 226, 246.

[277] Copied from the original.


Mr. Hoare was Comptroller of the Mint.


He was elected on the 30th of November 1695, and resigned at the same date in 1699.


Conduitt's MSS.


Among Newton's papers, I found the following list of his securities, which, I presume, must be those which were required when he was elevated to the Mastership of the Mint: —

Mr. Newton,£2000 Rt. Honble Charles Montague,1000 And Bondsmen, Thomas Hall, Esq.,1000 — — Flayer, Esq.,1000 Thos. Pilkington, gent.,1000 £6000


Conduitt's MSS. Dr. Arbuthnot's work was published in 4to, in 1727, under the title of Tables of Ancient Coins, Weights, and Measures, Explained and Exemplified in several Dissertations. It was reprinted in 1754, with observations by Dr. Benjamin Langworth.


This letter, dated Upminster, 18th July 1733, was written when Mr. Conduitt requested information regarding Newton from Dr. Derham, who had been intimately acquainted with him for about thirty years.


Letter to Molyneux, August 25, 1697.


August 2, 1697.


Letter to Newton, dated December 30, 1697.


These facts are gleaned from four unpublished letters to Newton, and three to Molyneux.


February 1697.


Macclesfield Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 420


Halley was one of the most distinguished and accomplished philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On the death of Dr. Wallis, in 1703, he was <197> appointed Savilian Professor of Geometry in Oxford. In 1703, he was chosen Secretary to the Royal Society, and, in 1719, in the sixty-third year of his age, he succeeded Flamsteed as Astronomer-Royal. In 1729, he was elected a corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, and he died on the 14th January 1712, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. In his Eloge upon Halley, M. Mairan thus speaks of him: — "While we thought the eulogium of an astronomer, a naturalist, a scholar, and a philosopher, comprehended our whole subject, we have been insensibly surprised with the history of an excellent mariner, an illustrious traveller, an able engineer, and almost a statesman." — Mém. Acad. Par. 1742.


The preceding statement is taken from a printed copy of the petition of Chaloner, with which Mr. Edleston has kindly favoured me. The affidavits of Holloway and Peers, annexed to the petition, are dated in November and December 1697.


Entitled, Guzmanus Redivivus. A Short View of the Life of William Chaloner, the Notorious Coyner, who was executed at Tyburn, on Wednesday, the 22d of March 16989, with a brief Account of his Tryal, Behaviour, and Last Speech. London: J. Haynes. 12mo, 1700; pp. 12.


Chaloner had been three times under prosecution before he petitioned the House of Commons. He was finally apprehended for forging Malt Tickets; but when tried for coining, he feigned madness to avoid pleading. He was however found guilty of high treason by "a cloud of witnesses," and executed, — abusing the Judge and the Jury, and declaring to the last that the witnesses, particularly Holloway, had perjured themselves.


In the Latin version of this passage, given hy Baily in p. 668, for similium read similia, for posteriore read posterum, for enarrare read qua in re; for cum [eorum?] read eum; and for censeas harum read consecuturum.


As this letter derives a peculiar interest, from its connexion with the remarkable letter of Newton of January 6th, which has been the subject of so much discussion, we have printed it in the APPENDIX, No. XIV.


See Baily 's Flamsteed, p. 164.


Flamsteed answered Newton's letter on the 10th of January, in a very contrite spirit, and sent him the paragraph as altered by Wallis.


Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 174, 175.


The Treaty of Ryswick was signed in 1697.


I have given this anecdote in the words of Conduitt, which cannot be correct. James Cassini, the younger, paid a visit to London in the early part of 1698, as appears from the following short note, in which he communicates from his father the periodic times of the five satellites of Saturn, slightly different from those published in the 2d Edit, of the Principia, p. 960.

"Clarissimo viro Domino Isak Newton, Jacobus Cassini. S.P.D.

"Cum e Londino reversurus in Galliam huc pervenissem, accepi a patre meo epistolam una cum maximis satellitum Saturni digressionibus quas a me expostulaveras. Has tibi mandare et gratitudinem meam tuorum erga me beneficiorum simul exhibere mihi liceat. Tuam domum adivi ut te inviserein, sed mala usus fortuna cum nunc abfuisses. Vale vir clarissime, et sic habeas me tibi semper esse addictissimum. Dover, Aprilis, 1698. St. N."


The eight foreign Associates created on this occasion were —

1. Leibnitz.} 2. Guglielmini.} 3. Hartsoecker.}February 4. 4. Tschirnhausen.} 5. James Bernoulli.} 6. John Bernoulli.}February 14. 7. Newton.} 8. Roemer.}February 21.

Newton and Roemer, and the two Bernoullis, were nominated by the Academy, and the other four by the King. — Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. lxix.


Mr. Weld has published this letter from the Letter-Book of the Royal Society, "as marking the different manner in which the great learned societies of England and France were treated by their respective sovereigns. In the latter country, science was thus early fostered and rewarded, while in England the Royal Society was left to struggle with poverty." — History of the Royal Society, vol. i pp. 355, 366. See vol. i. p. 100, &c.


Mr. Hammond was the opponent of Newton on this occasion. The votes stood thus —

Mr. Henry Boyle,180Mr. Newton,161Mr. Hammond,64


Monk's Life of Bentley, p. 122.


The two persons who had the honour of being knighted along with Sir Isaac were Sir John Ellis, Master of Caius College and Vice-chancellor, and Sir James Montague, the University Counsel, afterwards Lord Chief Baron. Sir James, who was of Trinity College, was a younger brother of Lord Halifax, and, along with others, received on this occasion the degree of LL.D. At the same time the celebrated Dr. Arbuthnot, physician to the Queen, received the degree of M.D.


This letter, which had on the back of it calculations about the Mint, is bound up near the beginning of the second volume of the large folio volumes containing papers about the Mint.


See Bruce's' Annals of the Honourable East India Company, vol. iii. pp. 261, 461, 472, &c.


Fontenelle's Eloge of Leibnitz, Mém. Acad. Par. 1718, p. 126.


There is no address on this letter, of which I have found two rough copies


This appears also from a letter of Flamsteed's written on the 5th April 1705, the day of the dissolution, in which he wishes Newton "good success in his affairs, health, and a happy return." — Baily's Flamsteed, p. 238. This letter (marked "not sent as he returned too soon") is given by Baily as probably addressed to Mr. Hodgson; but as Mr. Edleston first suggested, it was to Newton. — Correspondence, &c., p. lxxiii, note 151.


This letter is among the MSS. of Newton, in the possession of the Rev. Jeffrey Ekins, who kindly communicated it to me. It was probably written shortly before his visit to Cambridge in March.


Cobbett's Parliamentary History, vol. vi. p. 496. Flamsteed thought Newton's success doubtful, "by reason he put in too late." — Baily's Flamsteed, p. 239.


The following was the state of the poll: — Hon. Arthur Annesley,(Magd.,)182 Hon. Dixie Windsor,(Trinity,)170 Hon. Fra. Godolphin,(King's,)162 Sir Isaac Newton,(Trinity,)117

Dr. Bentley voted for Sir Isaac. — Edleston's Correspond., &c., p. lxxiv., note 153.


An account of this interview by Flamsteed will be found in Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 69, 217.


In this Report, the original of which I have found in Sir Isaac's handwriting, the expense of printing 400 copies is £683, with £180 to pay the charges of two calculators, &c. "This set of observations," the reporters say, "we repute the fullest <222> and completest that has ever yet been made, and as it leads to the perfection of astronomy and navigation, so, if it should be lost, the loss would be irreparable." The Report is published in Baily's Flamsteed, p. 234.


I have found three rough copies of these articles, all in Sir Isaac's handwriting, and obviously drawn up by himself. The very receipts granted by Flamsteed were written by Newton.


November 20, 1705. Baily's Flamsteed, p. 256.


In this note he offers immediately to put the first volume into the hands of the referees.


Flamsteed says that he himself had drawn up articles which "were not to Newton's purpose;" and he refers to certain topics in "the articles," which are not mentioned in what Mr. Baily has ventured to consider as the genuine articles. See pages 80 and 81 of his Autobiography.


Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 86 and 320.


I have now before me the originals of the order upon Newton, of the 26th March, the order of Flamsteed of the 10th April, to pay the money to Mr. Hodgson, and Hodgson's receipt of the 12th April, all carefully preserved by Sir Isaac.


In Newton's drafts of these articles, two different modes of paying Flamsteed are mentioned. One of these provides that he shall receive £50 for copying and correcting the press of each volume; and also 1s. 6d. per place, for computing the longitudes and latitudes of the planets, the places not exceeding 100, and the same sum for the places of the moon. The other mode is to pay two hundred and . . . pounds lor bofh volumes.


This draft of the articles is given in APPENDIX, No. XV.


In an unpublished letter, dated Windsor, July 30, 1706. On the 8th of January 1707, Sir Isaac was requested by the Royal Society to endeavour to procure Tycho's MSS., to be printed with Mr. Flamsteed's observations, and on the 27th he stated that he would endeavour to procure them. Tycho's observations on the comets of 1585, 1590, and 1596, were given to the Royal Society by Newton, October 5, 1722. — Miscellaneous MSS. lvii.


The agreement with the Prince was considered as cancelled by his death. His treasurer had advanced £375; and as £25 of this had not been expended, it was returned to his administrators. See APPENDIX, No. XVII.


Mr. Baily's Life of Flamsteed was printed by order of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty in 1835, and copies of it presented by them to numerous individuals and institutions.


"The same remark may perhaps be applied to the Catalogue; and therefore Flamsteed's assertion that the Queen's order, (to open the packet,) if obtained at all, had been obtained after the offence was comniitted, is probably correct; as that order would not have been given prior to February, and the Catalogue containing the additional stars by Halley, was at press in the following month, and actually finished by the month of June." See page 232.

[328] Baily's Flamsteed. Supplement, pp. 727, 728.


Flamsteed tells us in his autobiography written long afterwards, that in March 1711 he was "privately told that his Catalogue was in the press," (p. 93;) and in his letter to Sharp, dated May 15, 1711, he says, "March 25th last past I was informed by a friend that my Catalogue was in the press, and some sheets of it printed off;" but this was no secret, for on the 21st February, at a meeting of the Royal Society, Dr. Sloane was ordered "to write a letter to him, desiring him to furnish the deficient part of his Catalogue of the Fixed Stars, now printing by order of the Queen."


Baily's Flamsteed, p. 93.


Baily's Flamsteed, p. 298.


Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 73 and 219.


Ibid. p. 76.


It is here important to notice that the printing of the places of the planets, &c., is not a necessary part of the arrangement, and that if it is thought proper to adopt it, it is to be paid for by a separate sum. In two copies of this report, found among Flamsteed's MSS., this £180 is not mentioned. — Baily's Flamsteed, p. 76, note. But in giving in his autobiography a copy of the estimated expense, Flamsteed not only inserts the £180 along with the other sums, but he gives it as the sum to be paid for two calculators, thus making it appear that £280 out of the £863 is to be at his disposal. After his statement of the charges of printing, &c., Flamsteed adds, "But the last particular of the charge (£180 for two calculators) was not mentioned in it (the Report), but added in a note under it, for what reason those know best who drew it up." The Report states distinctly the reason. It is strange that an editor like Mr. Baily, who has given the real Report as possessed by Flamsteed, should have allowed these misstatements to pass unreproved.


Feb. 28, 1705.


March 22, 1705.


"I think to be very plain with Mr. Aston, and desire that he, I, and Mr. Churchill, may understand one another fully, and know what each shall advantage themselves by my pains; for his and Mr. Churchill's will be little or nothing, but to accept their shares, and this will be no equal bargain for me that must be at all the labour and trouble here, nor for Mr. Newton, who saves us the labour of soliciting for the Prince's bounty at Court. And therefore I think he too ought to be acquainted with what advantage every one of us shall make, and go and share with us. I shall say this to him when he returns from Cambridge." — March 22, 1705. It may be conjectured, from the postscript to this letter, that the parties were, according to this plan, to divide the profits arising from the sale of the 400 copies of the work.


Dated July 19, 1708, and sent by Wren to Newton.


Baily's Flamsteed, p. 87.

[340] Ibid., p.87, note.


See pages 172, note; 180, note; and 181, note.


This paragraph, and the one substituted for it, sire given in APPENDIX, No. XIV.


Nearly three years after this letter to Wren was written, on the 26th April 1711, Flamsteed desired Dr. Arbuthnot "to peruse his letter to Sir C. Wren, of which he had given him a copy, and particularly the last paragraph, whereby he would be satisfied that he had done all that lay in his power to expedite his work, and had taken great care of the Catalogue of the fixed stars." Now it is only in the original letter actually sent to Wren, that these matters occur in the last paragraph, so that Flamsteed referred to the real letter, of which he had taken a correct copy for Arbuthnot. The incorrect copy was, therefore, manufactured at a later date for the purposes we have mentioned.


This letter of Halley's to Flamsteed, dated June 23, 1711, is the only appearance he makes in person in this multifarious correspondence. When we consider the innumerable and coarse attacks made upon his character, and the vulgar abuse of him which almost every letter contains, the following advice to Flamsteed at the close of his epistle will not be thought unfriendly: — "Pray govern your passion, and when you have seen and considered what I have done for you, you may perhaps think I deserve at your hands a much better treatment than you have for a long time been pleased to bestow on your quondam friend, and not yet profligate enemy (as you call me)." This advice is not so severe as that of Flamsteed's own particular friend Dr. Smith. "My advice is that you represent your case nakedly, clearly, and without any flourish, or without any kind of resentment, as you are a philosopher and a mathematician, and above all, as you are a clergyman.' — Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 293 and 747.


On the 18th March 1712, when Halley visited the Observatory, "He offered," says Flamsteed, "to burn his Catalogue if I would print mine." Dr. Arbuthnot had previously offered to "reprint, change, or alter anything Flamsteed allowed."


In his Autobiography and Diary, and in a letter to Sharp.


Baily's Flamsteed, p. 270; March 24, 1709.


In APPENDIX No. XVII., I have given an account of the expense incurred by the Prince and the Government in printing the work.


The correspondence between Newton and Flamsteed seems to have terminated with Flamsteed's letter of September 14, 1706. I have found, however, among the Portsmouth papers, a draft of a letter from Newton to Flamsteed, without a date, and certainly written about the 24th of March 1711. It shows his great anxiety to get on with the printing of the work, in place of stopping it, as Flamsteed maintained. It will be found in APPENDIX, No. XVIII. There is also a short one from Flamsteed, dated April 23, 1716, wishing Newton to return some of his manuscripts.

It may be proper here to notice an observation made by Professor De Morgan in reference to the omission of Flamsteed's name from the second edition of the Principia. "Shortly afterwards," he says, "the second edition of the Principia appeared. Flamsteed, whose observations had been of more service to Newton than those of any other individual, and to whotn proper acknowledgment had been made in the first edition, and who had increased the obligation in the interval, had his name erased in all the passages in which it appeared: (we have verified for this occasion eight or nine places ourselves.) To such a pitch is this petty resentment carried, that whereas in one place of the first edition (prop. 18, book iii.) there is in a parenthesis 'by the observations of Cassini and Flamsteed," the corresponding place of the second is 'by the consent of the observations of astronomers.'" — Sketch of the Life of Newton, Cabinet Portrait Gallery, vol. xi. p. 101: Lond. 1846. In reply to this statement, Mr. Edleston observes, "the name, however, will be found in pages 441, 443, 445, 458, 465, 478, and 479: The last two references occur in some additional matter on comets, which was put into Cotes's hand in October 1712. (See p. 141 of this work.) I question very much whether the suppression of Flamsteed's name in several places where it had appeared in the first edition, was not such as was necessary in the process of improving the work." — Correspondence, &c. p. lxxv. note 162. In thus correcting the numerical oversight of Professor De Morgan, we must admit that his criticism is substantially correct. Mr. Edleston's explanation is not applicable to the omission of the joint names of Cassini and Flamsteed; but even if it had an application to them, it would not justify the omission. Newton owed to Flamsteed substantial obligations, and we do not think that these obligations are sufficiently acknowledged in the Principia, even if his name had in every case been retained in the second edition.


The following opinion of the Principia, given by Flamsteed in 1713, might have either justified an attempt on the part of Newton's friends, to lower his scientific character, or rendered it unnecessary. "I think his new Principia worse than the old, save in the moon!" — Baily's Flamsteed, p. 307.


The injurious tendency of Mr. Baily's work, is strikingly exhibited in the notices of it in our two leading reviews. Both the Edinburgh and the Quarterly Review took the part of Flamsteed, and made no attempt to defend Newton against his charges. It never seems to have occurred to the writers of these articles, that the charges are supported by no other evidence than that of the choleric individual by whom they are preferred; and neither of them has been at the trouble of cross-questioning their solitary witness. The Quarterly Reviewer goes so far, as "charitably to attribute Newton's letter of the 6th of January 1699, to the effect of that distressing malady which overwhelmed Newton for a time in 1692 — a malady rashly ascribed by some to mental aberration!"— See Edinburgh Review, vol. lxii. p. 359, June 1836; and Quarterly Review, vol. lv. p. 96, December 1835.


Dr. Johnson says that it was written in 1700 by Dr. William King, "a man of shallowness;" and Mr. Weld, who has looked into the copy of it in the British Museum, characterizes it as "of so low and ridiculous a nature, that it is surprising the Council should have thought it worth their while to notice it." — History of the Royal Society, vol. i. pp. 352-355.


Mr. Waller was reinstated in place of Dr. Harris at the next election on the 30th November 1710.


The following account of the quarrel I find in an anonymous letter addressed to Sir Isaac Newton, and dated March 28, 1710.


Dr. Harris was the author of a work published in 1697, in defence of Woodward's "Essay towards a Natural History of the Earth." It was entitled, "Remarks on some Late Papers, relating to the Universal Deluge, and to the Natural History of the Earth." — Ward's Lives of the Gresham Professors, p. 286.


Without better evidence than that of a partisan, we cannot believe that these words were in Newton's vocabulary. When he was irritated at the conduct of Flamsteed, he could not command a harsher term than that of Puppy. See p. 239. The letter, however, is well written, and contains many useful and temperate suggestions for improving the Society. The author, too, seems not at all disposed to maintain his incognito, as he expresses a willingness to have a personal interview with Sir Isaac.


Sir Hans Sloane and Dr. Woodward were both of them distinguished men, and great national benefactors. Dr. Woodward was Professor of Physic in Gresham College. He not only collected much valuable information respecting the geological structure of the earth, but so early as 1695, he began to form a collection of fossils, which after arranging and cataloguing it, he bequeathed to the University of Cambridge, of which he was a member, with the sum of £150, "for the maintenance of a lecturer to read there on the subject of the Doctor's Natural History of the Earth," &c. He was born May 1, 1665, and died April 25, 1728. His expulsion from the Council of the Royal Society does not seem to have alienated him from Newton, as in 1714 he dedicated to him his Naturalis Historia Telluris, of which he says, "it is wholly owing to you, it being begun, carried on, and finished at your request." — Fossils of all Kinds, 1728. Letter I.

Sir Hans Sloane, who was of Scotch extraction, was born in Ireland on the 16th April 1660. In the year 1705, he published the first volume of his Natural History of Jamaica, and the second volume in 1725. He wrote also twenty-four Papers for the Phil. Transactions. He was created a Baronet in 1716, and died on the 11th January 1753. On the condition of his family receiving £20,000, he bequeathed his museum to the public, with his library of 50,000 volumes, and 3566 manuscripts. The original cost of his museum was £50,000. Parliament accepted the trust, and these valuable collections form the nucleus of the British Museum. — Weld's History of the Royal Society, vol. i. p. 456.

During the time of the dispute, however, in the Royal Society, Newton is said to have remarked, "that Dr. Woodward might be a good natural philosopher, but that he was not a good moral one."

In consequence of some difference of opinion on medical subjects, Woodward and Dr. Mead fought a duel under the gate of Gresham College. Woodward's foot slipped, and he fell. "Take your life," exclaimed Mead: "Any thing," replied Woodward, "but your physic." An amusing account of this duel, by Dr. Wood <248> ward, will be found in the Weekly Journal of June 20, 1719, and in Nichol's Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, vol. vi. p. 641.

In writing to Abraham Sharp on the 14th July 1710, Flamsteed says, "Sir Isaac Newton has hurt our Royal Society by his partiality for E. Halley and Dr. Sloane, upon a small and inconsiderable occasion; so that they have broke up some few weeks before their time. Dr. Harris has lost all his reputation by actions not fit for me to tell you." — Baily's Flamsteed, p. 276, note.


See vol. i. p. 312.


Dr. Clarke had probably come up to perform some exercises for the degree of D.D. which he took in 1710.


This picture was bequeathed by Bentley to Trinity College.


I find it stated in Conduitt'a MSS., that Halley once dined with Newton at the Mint.


Literary and Historical Memorials of London, 2 vols.: Lond. 1847. Mr. Croker, in his edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson, mantions a plan of converting Newton's house into a lecture-room.


See vol. i. pp. 314-319.


A very large number of foreign ambassadors and persons of distinction were chosen Fellows of the Society at this period.


Swift's Works, January 2d and 4th, 1713, vol. xiv. pp. 333, 335. Edit. 1784.


This letter, dated February 25, 1714, and an English version of it, are preserved in the Royal Society, A 55, 56.


This letter, dated May 27, 1714, is published in the Macclesfield Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 420.


Histoire Critique de la Philosophie, par Mr. D. [Deslandes,] 4 vols. 12mo. Amst. 1737. Vol. ii pp. 264, 265.


This letter, dated Petersburg, Aug. 23, 1714, has been preserved. The Prince's signature, as if written with a paralytic hand, is illegible.


Three drafts have been preserved of Newton's letter written in Latin, and dated October 25, 1714.


Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 37, 38.


Ibid. pp. 111, 112.


See vol. i. p. 351.


Journals of the House of Commons, vol. xvii. pp. 641, 671, 677, and 716.


In consequence of this Act, Henry Gully, an Englishman, devoted himself to the improvements of timekeepers. He settled in Paris, made various improvements upon watches, and had for his pupil the celebrated Julien le Roy, to whom, and to his son, M. Berthoud, the art of watchmaking is under great obligations.


Macclesfield Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 419.


See vol. i. p. 239.


See vol. i. pp. 350-352.


Historical Preface to some of the copies of his "Longitude Discovered, Lond. 1738," p. v., dated, as Mr. Edleston conjectures, in 1742. — Correspondence, &c., p. lxxvi.


Mr. Clayton, M.P. for Liverpool.


"Les trois derniers (Halley, Cotes, and Clarke) exprimèrent leur avis verbalement; mais Newton lut le sien, sur un papier écrit qu'il avait apporté, et qui ne fut compris de personne; puis il se rassit, et garda obstinément le silence, quelque instance qu'on lui fit de s'expliquer plus ouvertement. Enfin Whiston voyant que le bill allait être retiré, prit sur lui de dire que si M. Newton ne voulait pas s'expliquer davantage, c'était par crainte de se compromettre; mais qu'au fond, il trouvait le projet utile: Alors M. Newton répéta presque mot à mot ce qu'avait dit Whiston, et le projet du bill fut accepté. Cette conduite presque puérile, dans une circonstance si solennelle pourrait prêter aux plus étranges conséquences, surtout si on la <267> rapporte au fatal accident que Newton aurait éprouvé en 1695." Biot, Biog. Univ. Art. Newton, pp. 192, 193.

Mr. Edleston justly remarks, that "this is not a model of accurate condensation," and he leaves it to the reader, who will, of course, make the requisite allowance for the forwardness and vanity of the reporter, to judge whether M. Biot's term "presque puérile" be a proper epithet to apply lo the part that Newton took on the occasion." — Correspondence, &c., p. lxxvi., note 167.

A more correct view of Newton's conduct was taken by my distinguished friend the late Professor Rigaud. "What kind of persons," he says, "the committee must have consisted of, that such a plain statement as Newton's should not have been understood by any one of them, I cannot tell. The whole story is evidently tinctured by Whiston's spleen and disappointment." — MS. letter, Oct. 21, 1830. M. Biot is mistaken in saying that the act of 1714 is still in force. It was repealed, along with various Longitude Acts, in 1774.


The name Mrs. was then given to unmarried women.


Conduitt's MSS.


Born April 16, 1661.


The Poetical Works of the late Right Hon. CHARLES EARL OF HALIFAX. London, 1716, 2d edit.


Conduitt's MSS.


Born 1679, married August 26, 1717, died 20th January 1739.


The words love and affection had not, in Halifax's day, the same meaning which they have now. Swift, for example, writes to Stella that he "loves Mrs. Barton better than any one here." Speaking of the Duke of Argyle, he says, "I love that Duke mightily. Lady Mountjoy is a little body I love very well." Speaking of the pictures of Lady Orkney, Lord Bolingbroke, and Lady Masham, he says, "I shall have the pictures of those I really love here." In like manner, Pope writes to H. Cromwell, "I should be glad to tell all the world that I have an extreme affection and esteem for you."


The Earl of Shaftesbury. See his Letters to Robert Molesworth, Esq. Edit. 1750, lett. iii. pp. 70-72.


Baily's Flamsteed, Letter to Sharp, July 9, 1715. He adds, "Sir I. Newton loses his support in him (Halifax,) and having been in with Lord Oxford, Bolingbroke, and Dr. Arbuthnot, is not now looked upon as he was formerly," p. 314. See also pp. 73 and 317, where the great intimacy of Newton and Halifax is mentioned.


This Life of Halifax, written by some literary hack of the disreputable house of Curll and Co., cannot be regarded as a work of any authority upon the statements of which we can safely rely. The anonymous author obviously received no information from the family of Halifax, and therefore any fact which he did not derive from public documents, must be considered as resting upon vulgar rumour. The author himself says in his Dedication to George Earl of Halifax, that "he is sensible that he has been guilty of many omissions through want of intelligence from persons who might have obliged him with proper information." In a copy of the first edition of the Life of Halifax, in the University Library of Cambridge, the author is said to be William Pittis.


The Countess Dowager of Manchester, whom Charles Montague married "some time before the Revolution in 1688." — Life of Halifax, p. 3.


Oldisworth, in "The British Court" says —

"Give Cowper wit, still Barton will have sense."

[394] Life of Halifax, pp. 195, 196, 2d edit. Lond. 1716.

[395] See APPENDIX, No. XIX.

[396] Born 1688; died May 20, 1737, æt. 49.


The sneer of Voltaire in ascribing Newton's promotion to the Mint to the beauty of his niece, scarcely deserves our notice. Miss Barton was only sixteen when he received the appointment, and Montague could not then have seen her. Voltaire, however, makes no insinuation against the character of Miss Barton. "J'avais cru, dans ma jeunesse," says he, "que Newton avait fait sa fortune par son extrême mérite. Je m'étais imaginé que la cour, et la ville de Londres l'avait nommé par acclamation grand maître des monnaies du royaume. Point du tout. Isaac Newton avait une nièce assez aimable nommé Madame Conduitt, elle plut beaucoup au grand Trésorier Halifax. Le calcul infinitésimal et le gravitation ne lui auraient servi de rien sans une jolie nièce." — Dict. Philos. tom. iv. p. 61.


This discussion will be found under the title of Lord Halifax and Mrs. Catherine Barton, in Notes and Queries, No. 210, November 5, 1853, pp. 429, 433, in an elaborate article marked by the usual acuteness of that distinguished writer.


Conduitt's MSS. I find it stated in the handwriting of Mrs. Catherine Barton, upon the back of a drawing of the arms of the Swinfords of Stamford, that "the Hartons were descended from the Swinfords," from Catherine Swinford, the wife of Sir Hugh Swinford, who became the mistress of John of Gaunt.


Swift's great admiration of Miss Barton, notwithstanding her Whig politics', is no slight proof of the purity of her social position. I have placed in APPENDIX, No. XX, a letter from Mrs. Conduitt to himself, and all the passages in which she and Halifax are mentioned in his journal to Stella.


I find letters addressed to Mr. Conduitt at Cranbury, his country house in Hampshire, where it is probable he and his family frequently resided, when he was not attending his duty in the House of Commons. During Newton's illness in 1726, Dr. Mead addressed several letters to him "at his house near Winchester." Miss Barton, as we have already seen, (p. 213), was boarded in Oxfordshire, where she had an attack of the small-pox, in August 1700. There is no evidence that she lived with Newton before this date, and we have not been able to determine at what time she took up her residence under his roof. If we suppose it to have been in 1701, we obtain sixteen years as the period of her residence in Newton's house before her marriage, and four years for her residence with him after her marriage in 1717 — the other six years having been spent with her husband.


Mr. De Morgan says, that Halifax bought this annuity for Miss Barton in Newton's name; but this is a conjecture, and not a fact; and we consider it quite certain, from a fair interpretation of the words, that Newton purchased this annuity, and, being nearly twenty years older than Halifax, made him the trustee. He is simply the trustee, and not the granter of the annuity. Had he granted the annuity, he would have mentioned it as one of the "gifts and legacies" which he left her. An annuity purchased in Sir Isaac Newton's name can mean nothing else than an annuity purchased by Sir Isaac Newton. I find among Newton's papers a scroll of the beginning of the act of transference from the executor, George Lord Halifax, in which the date of the trust is stated to be October 26, 1706. Mr. De Morgan remarks, that if "the annuity had been bought by Newton, Conduitt would haye mentioned it in his list of the benefactions which Newton's relatives received from him." But the annuity was not a benefaction like those contained in Conduitt's list. It was virtually a debt due to his favourite niece whom he had educated, and <280> who had for twenty years kept his house; and if she had not received it from Sir Isaac, his conduct would have been very unjust, as, owing to his not having made a will, she got only the eighth part of his personal estate along with his four nephews and nieces. Mr. De Morgan makes other statements which it is necessary to examine. After mentioning the important fact, that though "Swift writes to Stella of every kind of small talk, he never mentions Halifax and Miss Barton together, — never makes the slightest allusion to either in connexion with the other, though in one and the same letter he minutes his having dined with Halifax on the 28th, and with Miss Barton on the 30th, (September 1710)," he adds, "there must have been intentional suppression in this." Certainly, if Swift knew or believed that Miss Barton lived with Halifax; but the true inference is, that she not only did not live with him, but that it was never even reported that she did. Mr. De Morgan, however, adds, "All the world knew that there was some liaison between the two." On the contrary, we maintain that not one person in the world knew this, or could know it, in 1710. There is not a single fact to prove that the codicil of 1706 was known to any individual. Mr. De Morgan goes on to say, as if in proof of "intentional suppression," for which we can see no motive, that when Swift (November 20, 1711) records his having been "teased with Whiggish discourse" by Miss Barton, "he does not even drop a sarcasm about her politics having been learnt from Halifax." Why make Miss Barton the political pupil of Halifax, seeing that her own uncle, Sir Isaac Newton, with whom she had spent the greater part of her life, and from beneath whose roof she never strayed, was one of the most decided Whigs of the day? This Whig conversation took place in the house of Lady Betty Germain, from which "it appears," as Mr. De Morgan has justly observed, "that she (Miss Barton) was regarded as a respectable woman," — a fact of which there are abundant indications.


"In a poem called the Toasters, where all the distinguished beauties at that time are celebrated in distinct epigrams, these two appear in honour of Miss Barton: —

Stampt with her reigning charms this brittle glass

Will safely through the realms of Bacchus pass;

Full fraught with beauty, will new flames impart,

And mount her shining image in the heart.

Another —

Beauty and Wit strive each in vain,

To vanquish Bacchus and his train;

But Barton, with successful charms,

From both their quivers drew her arms,

The roving god his sway resigns,

And cheerfully submits his vines."

Art. MONTAGUE, Biographia Britannica, vol. v. p. 3156, note.


Essais de Théodicée sur la Bonté de Dieu, la Liberté de l'Homme, et l'Origine du Mal.


Journal de Trevoux, May 1712.


Memoirs of Literature, No. XVIII. p. 137. See Cotes' letter to Newton in Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. 153.


The scroll of this letter, which occupies two folio pages, has no date. It does not appear in the Memoirs of Literature for which it was written.


Vol. I. p. 60.


The words in England are not in the original paragraph, but they were added either by the Princess or Dr. Clarke, and, as we shall presently see, were meant to be understood by Leibnitz himself.


All these papers, which passed through the hands of the Princess, were published at Amsterdam in 1720, under the title of Recueil de Diverses Pièces sur la Philosophie, la Religion Naturelle, l'Histoire, les Mathématiques, &c., par Messrs. LEIBNIZ, CLARKE, NEWTON, &c. They wEre published also in French and English in 1738 in Dr. Clarke's Works, vol. iv. pp. 580-710.


We hope that those who possess the originals of the Commercium Epistolicum of Leibnitz and Bernoulli, will supply the numerous elisions which the editor had not the courage to insert, as they would throw much light on the temper with which the Fluxionary controversy was carried on by these eminent mathematicians. No such eliminations have been made in the letters of Newton or his friends.


It has been supposed by many persons that the Théodicée of Leibnitz, which was written for the information of the Queen of Prussia, with the view of counteracting the sceptical opinions of Bayle, did not express his own sentiments, and that Leibnitz really believed the doctrines which he impugned. Professor Pfaff of Tübingen, whose opinion of the Théodicée Leibnitz had requested, thus replied to him: "It seems to me that you have invented that theological system only in jest, while at the bottom you receive the doctrines of Bayle; but it is necessary that some one give the dangerous principles of Bayle a serious and thorough refutation." To this letter Leibnitz answered, "You are right, venerable sir, in what you say respecting the Theodicea. You have hit the nail on the head; and I wonder that no one before has taken this view of my intentions, for it is not the business of philosophers always to treat of subjects seriously; they who, as you correctly observe, so tax the powers of their mind in the invention of hypotheses. You who are a theologian, will pursue the theological course in the refutation of errors." This letter was, of course, understood in its natural meaning; but the biographer of Leibnitz, Dr. Gurhauer, maintains it to be an ironical answer to the presumptuous Professor! We do not venture to say, though he has himself said it, that Leibnitz's real opinions were not expressed in his Théodicée, and in his letter to the Princess of Wales, but we call the attention of the reader to the ludus et jocus, with which our metaphysical gladiator carried on his contest with Dr. Clarke, and pointed out the decay of natural religion in England.


Comm. Epistol. Leibnitii et Bernoullii, tom. ii. pp. 381, 382.


I have found, among Sir Isaac's papers, many folio pages of manuscript containing the same views as those given by Dr. Clarke.


Letter to Conti, April 14, 1716.


Raphson's Fluxions, p. 111.


"By the contrivance of some of the court of Hanover I was prevailed with to write an answer to the postscript of a letter written by Mr. Leibnitz to Mr. L'Abbé Conti, that both might be shewed to the King. I did it with reluctancy; and by the letters which Mr. Leibnitz thereupon wrote to several at court, I found that he was at the bottom of the design. It is now about forty years since I left off all correspondence by letters about mathematics and philosophy, and therefore I say nothing farther to you about these matters." — Scroll of a letter to the Abbé Varignon in 1718.


This was Newton's letter to Conti of the 26th February 1716.


Published in Raphson's Fluxions, p. 111.


In this scroll, of which there is a duplicate, another page is added, giving the usual history of his discovery of fluxions. In the duplicate, apparently the first written, there is added after the word dead, "For I have always industriously avoided disputes. If anything more were to be added, it should be what follows the following declaration." The pen is drawn through this last sentence, and the declaration is not mentioned. This paper was probably drawn up for the use of M. Des Maizeaux, in writing his preface to his Recueil, &c., which contains a clear account of the Fluxionary dispute. The Preface is dated October 27, 1719.


This extract from Fontenelle's letter, dated February 5, 1717, is in Mrs. Barton's handwriting, and seems to have been sent by Chamberlayne to Newton.


This scroll occupies nearly two closely written folio pages, and one part of it is almost obliterated with alterations.


These annotations occupy about ten closely written folio pages.


Pages 71-75.



[426] Sept. 26, 1721, o. s.


Dated December 9, 1721.


Spero dominum Varignonium curaturum, te presertim hortatore, ne quid in Gallia fiat de quo queri possim. Aug. 19, 1713, Com. Epist. Leib. et Bern. tom. ii. p. 321.


September 9, 1713.


Varignon had lost his copy of the first edition, from having lent it to a friend. The date of Newton's letter must have been in June or July 1722.


"1o. Lin. 12, 13. Legitur Jam velo sublato, ut militem in hac rixa pro se inducere: Mallem simpliciter Jam in hac rixa pro se inducere, ne quis sub illo velo prius la{illeg}itantem putet Dum. Bernoullium, cui Leibnitius epistolam predictam ascripsit. Adde quod ut Militem vilior est denominatio quam ut eundem Dum. Bernoullium non offendat.

"2o. Ibidem, Lin. 29. Legitur de Do Des Maizeaux et in lucem edidit: Mallem et me non consulto in lucem edidit ut nimirum hæc loquendi ratio concilietur cum Epistola quam ad Dum. Bernoullium, tua cum venia nuper scripsi.

"Hæc sunt quæ te lubente notavi in prædicti libri Præfatione prima ad Lectorem. At in notis ad Epistolam sine nomine datam die 7 Junii 1713, nibil mihi visum est quod sic paci noxium esse possit, ut Jam dixi." This letter is dated Paris, 4 Aug. 1722.


Pierre Varignon was born at Caen in 1654. In 1687 he published his Projet d'une Nouvelle Méchanique, in consequence of which he was elected a Member of the Academy of Sciences, and appointed Professor of Mathematics in the College Mazarin. Though of a robust constitution, his habits of severe study made such an impression upon it, that, in 1705, his life was for six months in great danger, and during the three following years, he was in a state of constant languor and fever, during the attacks of which, as he told Fontenelle, he believed that he was in the middle of a forest, where he saw the leaves of all the trees covered with algebraic calculations. After teaching his class at the College Mazarin, on the 22d December 1722, he was seized with an illness which carried him off on the following night. Newton contributed the plate for the portrait of Varignon to the edition of his Méchanique, re-published in 1725, as a present to the friends of Varignon.


Pages 71, 72.


Dated July 5, 1714. See APPENDIX, No. XXII.


Page 55, note.


I have found the scroll of this letter, but without a date. See APPENDIX, No. XXII.


See p. 72.


See p. 72, 73.


I have found among Newton's papers a copy of this very interesting letter. Montmort was the particular friend of Brook Taylor, and was much attached to Newton, to whom he sent in 1716 a present of fifty bottles of champagne. That Montmort was, as Bernoulli says, an impartial judge in this matter, can hardly be doubted, and as his letter expresses the opinion of continental mathematicians on the Fluxionary controversy, in a manner at once precise and intelligible, I consider it a duty to give it a place in the Appendix. In consequence of Bernoulli's reference to it in his correspondence with Newton, it has acquired a historical interest. See APPENDIX, No. XXIII., where I have prefixed to it Brook Taylor's letter to Sir Isaac, dated 22d April, 1716, in which Montmort's regard for Newton is specially mentioned.


This friend had seen in the list of Fellows for 1718 the name of Bernoulli; but in a work entitled Magnæ Britanniæ Notitia, by John Chamberlayne, the friend of Newton, published in 1718, p. 144, he saw a catalogue of the Fellows containing the name of his nephew, but not his own.


See p. 74.


John Bernoulli was born at Basle on the 7th August 1667, and died there on the 1st of January 1748, in the 81st year of his age. He was one of the most distinguished mathematicians of the last century. He was Professor of Mathematics at Basle, and one of the eight Associates of the Academy of Sciences. Two of his sons, Daniel and Nicolas, to the last of whom Newton sent copies of his Optics, were eminent mathematicians. His works were published in 1742 at Lausanne and Geneva, in 4 vols. 4to.


Page 263 of the 1st edit. and p. 232 of the 2d edit. In his letter to the Abbé Varignon, in the autumn of 1719, Newton mentions that N. Bernoulli had pointed out this mistake, and adds, "constructionem propositionis correxi, et correctam ei ostendi, et imprimi curavi non subdole, sed eo cognoscente." — Macclesfield Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 437. John Bernoulli had previously shewn in 1710, that Newton's result was erroneous when the curve was a circle, and he resumed the subject in the Leipsic Acts for February and March 1703. "It is remarkable," says Mr. Edleston, "that both of these mathematicians mistook the source of the error. They imagined that Newton had taken the coefficients of the successive powers of h in the expansion of xxpn for the successive fluxions of xx." — See Comm. Epist. Leib. et Bern. tom. ii. p. 229; Bernoulli Opera, tom. i. pp. 489, 509; and Edleston's Correspondence, &c., pp. 142, 145, 156, 170.


Dated Padua, May 31, 1717.


I find this fact stated in a letter to Newton from the Scotch mathematician James Stirling, who met with Nicolas Bernoulli when he was at Venice in 1719. The postscript to the letter containing a message from Bernoulli to Newton is interesting. I have given it in APPENDIX, No. XXIV.






In order to enjoy the conversation of the most distinguished literary men at that time in England, the "Princess of Wales appointed a particular day in the week, when they were invited to attend her Royal Highness in the evening; a practice which she continued after her accession to the throne. Of this company were Drs. Clarke, Hoadley, Berkeley, and Sherlock. Clarke and Berkeley were generally considered as principals in the debates that arose upon those occasions, and Hoadley adhered to the former as Sherlock did to the latter. Hoadley was no friend to Berkeley: he affected to consider his philosophy and his Bermuda project as the reveries of a visionary. Sherlock, (who was afterwards Bishop of London,) on the other hand, warmly espoused his cause, and particularly when the 'Minute Philosopher' came out, he carried a copy of it to the Queen, and left it to her Majesty to determine whether such a work could be the production of a disordered understanding." — Works of George Berkeley, D.D., Bishop of Cloyne, p. vii. Lond. 1837.


These two letters of Cavelier have been preserved by Sir Isaac.


It was entitled Abrégé de Chronologie de M. Le Chevalier Newton, fait par lui-même, et traduit sur le manuscript Anglois. Paris, 1725.


The existence of this manuscript in Paris was generally known, and was the subject of conversation before the date of Cavelier's first letter to Newton, (May 11, 1724), as appears from the following extract of a letter from M. Montmort (or perhaps from Conti) to Brook Taylor, dated Paris, January 15, 1724: —

"On m'a dit aussi que Mr. Newton imprime la Chronologie Raisonnée. Tout le monde l'attend avec bien de l'impatience. Faites luy mes complimens, je vous en prie; voicy une petit Sonnet que vous luy communiquerez; j'espère qu'il en sera content; car il verra l'attraction désigné par l'amour, qui règle le sistême de M. Descartes désigné par Phaeton. Dans le Mémoires de Leipsique, il aura vu si je suis du parti des Allemands.

'Lasciar mi il curro Governar del giorno,'

Disse à Febo l'Amor, 'e tosto sia

Rectificata in Ciel l'alta armonia

Che Fetonte turbó con suo gran scorno

Io diedi sede al cancro ed al capricorno

Ed al corpo lunar l'obliqua via

Io sterno al par del Caos; ed Io con lumeor

Forzo al mondo l'equilibro; ed Io l'adorno.

Disse:' e le Briglie imperioso stese

E corresse l'Aurora, ed agli infinite

Fonti del lume il corso antico rese

Ritornó i Pianet' ai primi siti

Il Solar Orbe a perni scai s'apese

E tal fu poi qual' O Newton l'additi.


Contemplatio Philosophica, and Life of Brook Taylor. Lond. 1793, p. 141.

M. Conti is supposed to be the Abbot who corresponded with Lady Mary Wortley Montague. See her Letters and Works, vol. i. p. 358, and vol. ii. pp. 11, 21, 119, and 128.


Phil. Trans. 1725, Vol. xxxiii. No. 389, p. 315. I have found seven distinctly written copies of this paper in Sir Isaac's handwriting.


Conti is said to have defended himself with much moderation, and with many expressions of esteem for Newton. See Biog. Univ., tom. ix. p. 517.


In the passage from the Acta Eruditorum, Conti is described as carrying letters of Newton's to Leibnitz, and communicating Leibnitz's letters to Newton. Conti was a very excellent and accomplished person, distinguished as a poet and a man of very considerable acquirements. He was a great favourite of the King, and acted as interpreter when Dr. Clarke, who could speak only Latin and English, was explaining to his Majesty the discoveries of Newton. It was at the King's request that he <307> interfered in the dispute between Newton and Leibnitz, and we see no reason to blame him for the part which he acted in that matter.


Signior Rizzetti, who afterwards published his attack upon Newton in a book entitled De Luminis Affectionibus Specimen Physico-Mathematicum. Venet. 1727. — See Desaguliers' Defence of Newton in the Phil. Trans. 1728, p. 596.


The words in italics are in another copy. I find also from one of these copies that Conti is charged with "sending Mr. Stirling to Italy, a person then unknown to me, to be ready to defend me there, if I would have contributed to his maintenance;" and in another, Conti is said to have "softened the business, by lately writing a poem upon him, and in the colour of a friend." This poem is probably that mentioned by Bolingbroke in a letter to Brook Taylor, Dec. 26, 1723. "He has begun a philosophical poem which will be finished, I believe, long before the Anti-Lucretius of the Cardinal de Polignac. Sir I. Newton's system will make the principal beauty in it. He recited the Exorde to me, which I thought very fine. I need not tell you that lie writes in Italian." — Life of Brook Taylor, p. 136.


The work is dedicated to the Queen by Mr. Conduitt, in an address of twelve quarto pages, in composing which he sought the assistance of Pope. We have given Pope's letter, containing his criticisms, in the APPENDIX, No. XXVII.


According to Whiston, Sir Isaac wrote out eighteen copies of this chapter with his own hand, differing little from one another. — Whiston's Life, p. 39.


This work forms the first article in the fifth volume of Dr. Horsley's edition of Newton's works, and is accompanied with copious notes. The next article in the volume is entitled, A Short Chronicle from a MS., the property of the Reverend Dr. Ekins, Dean of Carlisle," which is nothing more than an abstract of the chronology already printed in the same volume. We cannot even conjecture the reasons for publishing it, especially as it is less perfect than the abstract, two or three dates being wanting.


Phil. Trans. 1727, vol. xxxiv. pp. 205, 296.


Défense de la Chronologie contre le Systême de M. Newton. Paris, 1758, 4to.


Collection of Authentic Records, Part II. No. 24. 1727.


See an excellent view of this controversy in an able note by M. Daunou, attached to Biot's Life of Newton in the Biog. Universelle, tom. xxxi. p. 180.


This letter was first published without any date in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1755, vol. xxv. p. 3. I have found two copies of it among Sir Isaac's papers. Mr. Edleston informs us that the original is in the British Museum, presented by Mrs. Sharp. I have found also two copies of the communication he made to the Bishop of Worcester, which is published by Mr. Edleston in his Correspondence, &c. Appendix, p. 314. One of these copies is much fuller than that which is printed by Mr. Edleston.


I infer that this paper was written in 1699, from the statement in it that Pope Gregory's corrections "were made 118 years ago."


I find two copies of another paper in Latin, entitled Regulæ pro determinatione Paschœ. The subject of the Kalendar is touched upon in Newton's Chronology, p. 71, and in his Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel, p. 137, note.


Letter to Conduitt, dated 7th April 1727. See vol. i. Appendix, p. 465.


Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of the Scriptures, 50 pp. quarto.


The papers here alluded to were one on the Scale of Heat, his Reflecting Sextant, and his Solution of the Problem of Quickest Descent. See Bibl. Univ., tom. xxxi. p. 190, and vol. i. pp. 239, and p. 19 of this volume.


See p. 137.


In a book called "Newton's Waste Book," containing his discoveries in mathematics in the years 1664 and 1665, there are many extracts which prove that he had in these years prosecuted the study of theology.


Lord King's Life of Locke, vol. i. p. 402, 2d edit. Lond. 1830.


Dated Cambridge, June 30, 1691.


Cambridge, Feb 16, 16391 2.


"The words of Locke," says Lord King, "stand unaltered in the printed copy," vol. ii. p. 420.


Cambridge, Sept. 28, 1690.


Edition of 1754, pp. 122, 123.


Hist. Critique du Texte du Nouveau Testament. Rotterdam, 1689.


April 11, 1692.


July 15, 1692.


The editor supplied the beginning down to the 13th page, where he mentions in a note, that "thus far is not Sir Isaac's."


I have not found any copy of this manuscript, or any letters relating to it, among the manuscripts of Newton. In his list of the MSS., Dr. Horsley mentions a Latin translation of the Historical Account, and a paper-book entitled Sancti Johannis Apostoli Vindiciæ contra Novaticos et Falcarios.


Lond. 1733. 4to. Pp. 323.


Voltaire, who probably never read this work, has erroneously stated that Sir Isaac explained the Revelations in the same manner as all those that went before him.


Among the writers here referred to, Father Simon was doubtless the most important. In his Hist. Crit. du Texte du Nouv. Test. chap. xviii. p. 203; and in his Hist. Crit. des Versions du Nouv. Test. chap. xiv., Rott. 1690, he has given the same opinion of the text as Newton.


In stating this fact, Sir Charles Lyell omits to mention the re-insertion of the text in the edition of 1522. He is mistaken in saying, after Porson, that Newton's Dissertation was written between 1690 and 1760, (a typographical error for 17OO,) as it was written in 1690, or much earlier, as we have shown.


Clarke's Works, vol. iv. p. 121.


In letters in the Gent. Magazine, re-printed and enlarged in 1784 and 1786.


Five of these letters appeared in the Gent. Magazine for 1788, and were reprinted with some others, and entitled "Letters to Mr. Archdeacon Travis," &c. By R. Porson. Lond. 1790. 8vo. Pp. 406.


Second Visit to the United States, vol. i. p. 122.


Tracts on the Divinity of Christ, pp. xc. 371, 372, Lond. 1820; and Introduction to the Controversy on the disputed verse in St. John, Salisbury, 1835, &c. An able reply to Dr. Burgess, said to be written by the Bishop of Ely, appeared in the Quarterly Review, March 1826, vol. xxxiii. p. 64. See Notes and Queries, vol. i. pp. 399 and 453.


1 Timothy iii. 16.


Historical Account, &c., Art. I. and XXIV., Newtoni Opera, tom. v. pp. 531, 548.


Works, vol. iv. p. 47.


Memoirs, p. 365.


Historical Collections cited by Michaelis, vol. iv. p. 425.


Symbolœ Criticœ, vol. i. p. 8.


The Great Mystery of Godliness incontrovertible, or Sir Isaac Newton and the Socinians Foiled, &c. By E. Henderson, Professor of Divinity in Highbury College. Lond. 1730.


The latest writers on the subject, although not Unitarian, namely, Dr. Davidson in his Treatise on Biblical Criticism, vol. ii. p. 382, Edin. 1852, and Dr. Tregillis in his Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament, p. 226, Lond. 1854, have adopted the views of Sir Isaac.


There are certainly, as Professor De Morgan has shown, two or three expressions in the Dissertation which a believer in the doctrine of the Trinity is not likely to have used; but while I freely make this admission, I think Mr. De Morgan will also admit that they would not justify us in considering Newton as an Antitrinitarian. They warrant us only to suspect his orthodoxy. See Professor De Morgan's Life of Newton, p. 113, note.


Authentic Records, p. 1077. Lond. 1728.


Prolegomena to his edition of the New Testament, p. 185. Amst. 1751.


After 1712. — Memoirs, &c., p. 206.


The Humanitarians believe in the humanity of our Saviour, and that he was not an object of prayer.


"The Unitarian minister, Richard Baron," says Professor De Morgan, "who was a friend of Haynes, states the preceding as having passed in conversation between him and Haynes. The statement is made in the preface of the first volume of his collection of tracts, called 'A Cordial for Low Spirits,' (three vols. Lond. 1763, edit. 3d, 12mo,) published under the name of Thomas Gordon. This is not primary evidence like that of Whiston, and it loses force by the circumstance, that in the posthumous work which Mr. Haynes left on the disputed points, (and which was twice printed,) there is no allusion to it." — Life of Newton, p. 110, note.


The author of the Life of Newton, in the Biographia Britannica, vol. v. p. 3241, says that Newton would not suffer Whiston to be a member of the Royal Society, because he had represented him as an Arian, and, as if to prove this, ho refers to Whiston's Memoirs, which contain no such statement. Whiston himself assigns another "reason of Sir Isaac Newton's unwillingness to have him a member," namely, "that he was afraid of him the last thirteen years of his life;" but the reason which Whiston assigned to Halley, who asked him, "Why he was not a member of the Society?" was, "because they durst not choose a heretick." — See Whiston's Memoirs, edit. 1749, pp. 206, 292, 293.


Act, 1 William and Mary, 1688, chap, xviii., sect. 17.


Act, 9 & 10 William III., 1698, chap. xxxii.


Burnet's History of his own Times, vol. vi. p. 53, 8vo. 1833.


In suppressing these papers, Sir Isaac certainly did not "deliberately suppress his opinions," as Dr. Burgess has stated. See Professor De Morgan's Life of Newton, p . 115. There is abundance of evidence that he never abandoned the opinions maintained in these papers.


"Newton's religious opinions," says Dr. Thomson, "were not orthodox; for example, he did not believe in the Trinity. This gives us the reason why Horsley, the champion of the Trinity, found Newton's papers unfit for publication; but it is much to be regretted that they have never seen the light." — Hist. Royal Society, p. 284.


Dr. Henderson's Great Mystery of Godliness, &c., p. 3.


The Great Mystery of Godliness, &c., p. 2.


M. Biot had previously arrived at the same opinion. "There is absolutely nothing," he says, "in the writings of Newton which can justify, or even authorize the conjecture that he was an Antitrinitarian." — Biog. Univ. tom. xxxi. p. 190.


In order to correct a very grave misrepresentation by Dr. Burgess, Bishop of Salisbury, of the way in which this subject was treated in my former Life of Newton, I am obliged to insert in APPENDIX, No. XXVIII. two letters from the Bishop.


See page 315 of this volume.


The following is a copy of the codicil which the Rev. Jeffery Ekins has been so kind as to communicate to me: — "I, Catherine Conduitt, do make and appoint this a Codicil to my last Will and Testament. Whereas, I have in my custody severall Tracts written by Sir Is. Newton, and which I propose to print if God grant me life; but as I may be snatched away before I can have leisure to undertake so great a work, towards publishing of which I design to ask the help of learned men, I will and appoint, and ordain, that my Executor do lay all the tracts relating to Divinity before Dr. Sykes, and in hopes he will prepare them for the press. There are two critical pieces, one on the three that bear Record in Heaven, and another upon the Text who thought it not robbery, &c., which I will have printed, and there's a piece called Paradoxical Questions concerning Athanasius, another the History of the Creed, or criticism on it, and a Church History compleat, and many more Divinity Tracts, all of them I ordain shall be printed and published, so as they be done with care and exactness; and whatever proffit may arise from the same, my dear Mr. Conduitt has given a bond of £2000, to be responsible to the seven nearest of kin to Sir Is. Newton. Therefore the papers must be carefully kept, that no copys may be taken and printed, and Dr. Sykes desired to peruse them here, otherways if any accident comes to them the penalty of the Bond will be levy'd. As the labour and sincere search of so good a Christian and so great a genius, may not be lost to the world, I do charge my Executor to do as I hereby ordain. Witness my hand and seal, the 26 of Jan. 1737."



In a "Catalogue taken of Sir Isaac Newton's MSS., October 15th and 16th, in the year 1777, by William Mann Godschall, Esq., and the Rev. Dr. Horsley," no such manuscript is mentioned. The only MS. of this kind is one of two pages distinctly written and entitled CHAP. VII. of the Rise of the Roman Catholic Church or Ecclesiastical Dominion.


The manuscript of this work, now before me, is beautifully written in Sir Isaac's own hand, and extends to sixty-two folio pages. It wants the last leaf. I have seen at Hurtsbourne Park a copy in another hand, distinctly written as if for publication. In the Catalogue above mentioned of Newton's MSS. two copies of this MS. are mentioned in one place, and in another part of the Catalogue another copy is mentioned as complete, showing that the other two were not so.


There are four copies of this MS. with the title Irenicum, but only one with the full title given in the text.




In the Catalogue of Newton's MSS. by Dr. Horsley, he mentions a paper "of twelve short paragraphs in English, which seems to have been the beginning of a treatise on the divinity of our Saviour." In the fourth paragraph he adds the Arian interpretation of the word Logos, in St. John's Gospel, is sustained, but the Socinian doctrine is denied." This was probably another copy of the articles given in the text.




This paper, entitled Pacific Christians, and containing eleven articles, is published in King's Life of Locke, vol. ii. pp. 63-67. Edit. 1830.


The writer of the Life of Newton in the Biopraphia Britannica mentions an unfinished work entitled Lexicon Propheticum, to which was subjoined a Latin dissertation On the Sacred Cubit of the Jews, translated and printed in 1737, by Dr. Birch, in vol. ii. of the Miscellaneous Works of Mr. John Greaves. I have not seen any such MS., and it is not mentioned in Dr. Horsleys Catalogue. The paper on the Cubit may be included in "Latin Papers relating to the Jewish Temple," noticed by Dr. Horsley.


I have ventured to state and illustrate views similar to these in the last chapter "On the Future of the Universe," of a little volume entitled More Worlds than One. 1854.


The piety of Newton was so well known and appreciated by his friends, that he was occasionally consulted about their spiritual state. We have already seen, in page 37 of this volume, that an eminent mathematician "thanked God that his soul was extremely quiet, in which Newton had the chief share;" and, in the following letter from Dr. Morland, (the brother, we believe, of Sir Samuel,) who was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1703, we find him acting the same benevolent part: —

"SIR, — I have done, and will do my best while I live, to follow your advice, to repent and believe. I pray often as I am able, that God would make me sincere and change my heart. Pray write me your opinion whether, upon the whole, I may die with comfort. This can do you no harm — written without your name. God knows I am very low and uneasy, and have but little strength.

"Your most humble servant,


"Pray favour me with one line, because when I parted I had not your last word to me, you being in haste.

"Direct for Dr. MORLAND, in Epsom, Surrey."


See Vol. I. APPENDIX, pp. 388, 389.


Jan. 18th and 19th 1671-2, Newtoni Opera, tom. iv. pp. 273, 274. I find records of experiments in Dec. 10-19, 1678, and also in 1679, 1680.




See pages 120 and 121 of this volume.


Between the 10th and 30th December 1692. See Journal des Savans, 1832, p. 332.


Entitled Experiments and Observations, Dec. 1692, April and June 1693.


Phil. Trans. for March and April 1701, p. 824.


This constant recurrence to the fatal attack of 1693, which is synonymous with the fire in the laboratory, in order to fix the date of Newton's writings and discoveries, is equally painful and unjust. The date of the fire itself is actually unknown.


These queries are Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 31.


In his Appeal to all that doubt or disbelieve the truths of the Gospel, 3d edit. p. 314, Mr. Law had stated that Sir Isaac Newton borrowed his doctrine of attraction from Behmen's Teutonic Theosopher. A correspondent having expressed a desire to know "the foundation which Mr. Law had for such an assertion," a friend of Mr. Law's replied to this application, and quoted from a letter of Mr. Law's to himself the statement which we have given in the text. The correspondent, in a subsequent communication, expresses his disbelief that Sir Isaac could have betrayed such weakness. See Gentleman's Magazine, 1782, vol. lii. pp. 227, 329, and 575.


See page 96 of this volume.


By W. C., Lond. 1669, 8vo. "Composed by a most famous Englishman, styling himself Anonymus or Eurœneus Philaletha, who, by inspiration and reading, attained to the philosopher's stone at his age of twenty-three years. Anno Domini, 1645."


In addition to these works, Sir Isaac has left behind him, in his Note-books, and separate MSS., copious extracts from the writings of the alchemists of all ages, and a very large Index Chemicus and Supplementum Indicis Chemici, with minute references to the different subjects to which they relate.


In a letter dated January 2, 1717, and supposed to be written to the Abbé Conti. — Letters and Works, vol. ii. p. 130.


See p. 121 of this volume.


When Locke, as one of the executors of Boyle, was about to publish some of his works, Newton wished him to insert the second and third part of one of Boyle's recipes, (the first part of which was to obtain "a mercury that would grow hot with gold,") and which Boyle had communicated to him on condition that they should be published after his death. In making this request, Newton "desired that it might not be known that they came through his hands." And he adds, — "One of them seems to be a considerable experiment, and may prove of good use in medicine in analysing bodies. The other is only a knack. In dissuading you from too hasty a trial of this recipe, I have forborne to say anything against multiplication in general, because you seem persuaded of it, though there is one argument against it which I could never find an answer to, and which, if you will let me have your opinion about it, I will send you in my next." Letter to Locke, August 2, 1692. — King's Life of Locke, vol. i. pp. 410, 413.

Even at the beginning of the present century, some distinguished individuals thought favourably of alchemy. Professor Robison, in writing to James Watt, says, "The analysis of alkalis and alkaline earths will presently lead, I think, to the doctrine of a reciprocal convertibility of all things into all. . . . I expect to see alchymy revive, and be as universally studied as ever." Feb. 11, 1800. — Muirhead's Origin and Progress of the Mechanical Inventions of James Watt, vol. ii, pp. 271, 272. Lond. 1854.


"Paulatim convalesco, et spero me salutem cito fruiturum."


See this volume, p. 60, and Macclesfield Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 424.


Pemberton's Paper, in the form of a letter to Dr. Mead, was published in the Philosophical Transactions for April and May, 1722, No. 371, p. 57. Sir Isaac's refutation was added in a postscript to the letter without his name, as having been given to the author "by an excellent and learned friend of his, to whom he had been pleased to shew the letter, in confirming Sir Isaac Newton's sentiment in relation to the resistance of fluids." As the subject excited much controversy, Sir Isaac's simple and intelligible view of it may be interesting to the reader. "Suppose," says he, "pieces of fine silk, or the like thin substance, extended in parallel planes, and fixed at small distances from each other. Suppose then a globe to strike perpendicularly against the outermost of the silks, and by breaking through them to lose part of its motion. If the pieces of silk be of equal strength, the same degree of force will be required to break each of them, but the time in which each piece of silk resists, will be so much shorter as the globe is swifter; and the loss of motion in the globe consequent upon its breaking through each silk, and surmounting the resistance thereof, will be proportional to the time in which the silk opposes itself to the globe's motion, insomuch that the globe, by the resistance of any one piece of silk, will lose so much of its motion as it is swifter. But, on the other hand, by how much swifter the globe moves, so many more of the silks it will break through in a given space of time; whence the number of the silks which oppose themselves to the motion of the globe in a given time being reciprocally proportional to the effect of <380> each silk upon the globe, the resistance made to the globe by these silks, or the loss of motion the globe undergoes by them in a given time, will be always the same." — Pp. 67, 68.


Dr. Wilson's Preface to Pemberton's Course of Chemistry. Lond. 1771.


Hist. Essay, p. 106. I did not find this volume among the papers in Hurtsbourne Park, when I examined them in 1836. It appears to have been in the hands of Dr. Horsley when he edited the works of Newton.


View of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy, Preface, p. 2.


These letters are twenty-three in number, with seven sheets of Queries, containing suggestions for the improvement of the work. Only seven of the letters have dates. The Rev. Mr. Jeffrey Ekins has kindly sent me a copy of a short one in his possession, but without a date.


Hist. des Mathématiques, vol. ii. p. 338. Paris, 1758. See also p. 29 of this volume, and APPENDIX, No. I.


See p. 32 of this volume, and APPENDIX, No. I.


Epistola ad Amicum de Cotesii inventis, curvarum ratione quœ cum Circulo et Hyperbola comparationem admittunt, pp. 6, 7, 4to. Lond. 1722. This letter is addressed Amico Suo J. W. Integerrimo Dilectissimoque, H. P. Salutem. See Dr. Wilson's Preface to Pemberton's Course of Chemistry, p. vi., for the history of this interesting volume. The Theorem of Cotes, rather prolixly demonstrated by Pemberton, was attacked with more success by Demoivre, and afterwards demonstrated directly by John Bernoulli. Opera, tom. iv. p. 68.


Dr. Pemberton was born in London in 1694. He took the degree of medicine at Leyden, and became acquainted with Newton in the way we have already mentioned. Immediately after Sir Isaac's death in 1727, he advertised a Translation of the Principia, with a Comment; but the publication of Motte's Translation in 1729 prevented him from proceeding with this work. He devoted himself, however, to the completion of his "View of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy," part of which was submitted to Newton before his death. In Dr. Mead's letter to Conduitt, already mentioned, be says, "Dr. Pemberton has also given part of his Book to the Knight, of which he read some part immediately, and kept the papers, and seemed very well pleased. You may depend upon his having the perusal of the whole of it if he will be pleased to take the trouble." Pemberton was chosen Professor of Physic in Gresham College, and gave lectures on chemistry, which were published after his death, by his friend Dr. Wilson. He died in 1771, at the age of 77. See Preface to his Course of Chemistry, and vol. i. p. 318, note.


I have found a copy of the Preface with the date of November 1725. It is shorter than the one printed, and does not contain the well-merited compliment to Dr. Pemberton, who, as his friend Dr. Wilson tells us, valued it more than the liberal present of 200 guineas which Newton gave him. Pemberton's Chemistry, Preface, p. xv.


Twelve fine paper copies were printed. There is one in the library of Trinity <384> College, one in that of Queen's College, which Newton had presented to J. F. Fauquier, one in the Royal Society library, presented by Martin Folkes in the name of the President, on the 31st March 1726, (Edleston's Correspondence, p. lxxix), and one in the Observatory at Oxford, which Newton had presented to Bradley. Mr. Rigaud says "that they were all originally bound with gilt leaves in red morocco, to a pattern which was much used for the Harleian Library." — Memoirs of Bradley, p. xi. Newton sent six copies of the work to Fontenelle, for the Academy of Sciences, for himself, and for the principal mathematicians in Paris.


According to Dr. Stukely, he lived at Orbell's Buildings. In Maude's Wensleydale he is said to have "died in lodgings in that agreeable part of Kensington called Orbell's now Pitt's Buildings."


This paper was published in the Appendix to my former Life of Newton, but as Sir Isaac has given his opinions on the same subjects more deliberately in his letters to Bentley and elsewhere, I have not thought it advisable to reprint it.


Notice of Maclaurin's Life, prefixed to his Account of Sir Isaac Newton's Discoveries, p. iv. Lond. 1748. I have not found a copy of this letter among Newton's papers.


In the first scroll of the letter there was inserted the following passage, "for I have a kindness also for Mr. Gregory upon his brother's account, and should be glad to have a hand in helping him to a coadjutor," but it was struck out.

On the back of the two scrolls, which are written on the same page, are the following words: — "I reckon him well skilled in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, astronomy, and optics, which are the mathematical sciences proper for a university, and abundantly sufficient for a Professor."


Colin Maclaurin was born in February 1698. He studied mathematics under Dr. Robert Simson at Glasgow, and was in 1717 elected Professor of Mathematics in Maris'chal College, Aberdeen. In 1719 he became acquainted with Newton, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, to whose Transactions be contributed two papers. He gained the prize of the Academy of Sciences for 1724, on the Percussion of Bodies. In 1742 he published his Treatise on Fluxions, which was written in answer to Berkeley's Analyst. In 1745, he took an active part in defending Edinburgh against the approach of Prince Charles; and in superintending the execution of the works which he had designed, he caught the cold, of which he died on the 14th June 1746, in the forty-eighth year of his age. Mr. Conduitt had requested him as a friend to draw up an account of Newton's discoveries for the biography of him, in which he was engaged. Maclaurin sent the MS. of it to London, but in consequence of the death of Conduitt in 1737, the MS was returned, and it became the foundation of his admirable Account of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophical Discoveries, which was published after his death. Maclaurin was a man, like Newton, of undoubted piety, and an humble Christian. He died while dictating to his amanuensis the last chapter of his work in which he proves the wisdom, the power, the goodness, and the other attributes of the Deity.


The Abbé signed only the Journal Book.


Essais Historique sur Bolingbroke, compiled by General Grimoard in Lettres Historiques . . . de . . . Bolingbroke, vol. i. p. 155, Paris, 1808. Mr. Edleston, from whose work we have copied the anecdote in the text, gives the following "as the simple record in the Journal Book of Alari's visit:" "Mr. Mildmay had leave to be present, as also Mr. Peter Joseph Alari, a French gentleman." — Correspondence, &c., p. lxxxviii.


Born 1657, died 1747.


Initium Evangelii S. Johannis Apostoli ex antiquitate ecclesiastica restitutum, itidemque nova ratione illustratum, 8vo, 1726. It was published under the name of <390> L. M. Artemonius, because he had adopted the opinions of Artemon, a heretic of the third century, respecting our Saviour. The letters L M. signify Lucas Mellerius, the anagram of Samuel Crellius.


Thesaurus Epistolicus Lacrozianus, tom. i. p. 105. Edidit J. L. Uhlius, Lipsiæ, 1742-1746, three vols. 4to.


One dated May 10, 1726, sending £3 for repairing the floor of Colsterworth church, and the other dated February 4, 1727, on the assay of a piece of ore.


I have found a scroll of this letter without a date, and Fontenelle's answer to it, dated July 14, 1726.


This letter is dated August 11, 1726. Dr. Mead had received two letters of inquiry from Conduitt on the occasion, to which this was the answer.


Mr. Conduitt has left three different accounts of his illness. Some of the facts mentioned above are found only in one of them, apparently the one first written.


A Poem, sacred to the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton.


The London Gazette, April 4, 1727. No. 6569.


These were the three children of his half-brother Smith, the three children of his half-sister Pilkington, and the two daughters of his half-sister Barton, all of whom survived Sir Isaac. New Anecdotes of Sir Isaac Newton, by J. H., a Gentleman of his Mother's Family. See Annual Register, 1776, vol. xix. p. 25 of Characters. The author of this paper was James Hutton, Esq. of Pimlico. See Appendix, No. XXXI.


Qui genus humanum ingenio superavit, et omnes

Perstrinxit Stellas exortus ut Ethereus Sol. — Lucretius


[575] Turnor's Collection, & c., p.158. See APPENDIX, No. XXXII.


These were Robert and Newton Barton, and Mrs. Burr, the children of Colonel Barton. This branch of the family became extinct by the death of the Rev. John Barton. The present Charles Cutts Barton, Esq., is the heir-male of Geoffry Barton, a half-brother of Mr. Conduitt, and the great-grandson of the widow of Colonel Barton, by her marriage with Colonel Gardner, whose only daughter married the Rev. Cutts Barton, Dean of Bristol.


Mr. Conduitt's appointment to this office was announced in the Gazette immediately after the official notification of Sir Isaac's funeral. In a MS. entitled Memorandums touching Mr. John Conduitt, it is stated that he went to Westminster School on the 28th June 1691, — to Westminster College in June 1701, — and to Trinity College, Cambridge, in June 1705, where he continued till June 1707. On the 8th July he set out on his travels to Holland, Germany, &c., and returned in May 1710. Between 1710 and 1711 he went twice to Portugal, and in 1713 he visited Gibraltar, from which he returned in May 1717. On the 26th of August 1717, he was married to "Mrs. Katherine Barton" in Russell Court Chapel, as proved by the marriage certificate, now before me, written on vellum, signed by John Heylin, minister, (a fellow-student of Conduitt's at Trinity, and afterwards Prebend of Westminster,) and witnessed by Bernard Fletcher, Clark, and Anne Powell. He sat in Parliament for Whitchurch in the Parliaments which met March 17, 1715, October 9, 1722, and January 23, 1728. He was re-elected in 1717, after his appointment to the Mint. In 1734, when he was elected both for Southampton and Whitchurch, he had the same number of votes at Southampton as his competitor, Anthony Hanley, but as this gentleman was found not to be duly elected, Mr. Conduitt made his election for Southampton. He was born in 1688, and died on the 20th May 1737, in the forty-ninth year of his age. His widow, Mrs. Conduitt, erected in 1738 a handsome monument to his memory in Westminster Abbey. Mrs. Conduitt died on the 20th January 1739, in the fifty-ninth year of her age.


This valuable faculty characterizes all his writings whether theological, chemical, or mathematical; but it is peculiarly displayed in his Treatise on Universal Arithmetic, and in his Optical Lectures.


De Magnete, pp. 42, 52, 169, and Preface, p. 30.


See Essai sur les Ouvrages Physico-mathématiques de Leonard de Vinci, par J. B. Venturi. Paris, 1799, pp. 32, 33, &c. See also Carlo Amoretti's Memorie storiche su lu vita gli studi e le Opere de Leonardo da Vinci. Milano, 1804.


"The man who first discovered that cold freezes water, and that heat turns it into vapour, proceeded on the same general principles and on the same method by which Newton discovered the law of gravitation, and the properties of light. His Regulæ Philosophandi are maxims of common sense, and are practised every day in common life; and he who philosophizes by other rules, either concerning the material system or concerning the mind, mistakes his aim." — Reid's Inquiry into the Human Mind. Introduction.


1 The following interesting anecdote is related in Conduitt's MSS.: — "When Sir A. Fountaine was at Berlin with Leibnitz in 1701, and at supper with the Queen of Prussia, she asked Leibnitz his opinion of Sir Isaac Newton. Leibnitz said that taking mathematicians from the beginning of the world to the time when Sir Isaac lived, what he had done was much the better half; and added that he had consulted all the learned in Europe upon some difficult points without having any satisfaction, and that when he applied to Sir Isaac, he wrote him in answer by the first post, to do so and so, and then he would find it."


The following anecdote is recorded by Conduitt, as showing Sir Isaac's indifference to fame: — "Mr. Molyneux related to us that after he and Mr. Graham and Dr. Bradley had put up a perpendicular telescope at Kew, to find out the parallax of the fixed stars, they found a certain nutation of the earth which they could not account for, and which Molyneux told me he thought destroyed entirely the Newtonian system; and therefore he was under the greatest difficulty how to break it to Sir Isaac. And when he did break it by degrees, in the softest manner, all Sir Isaac said in answer was, when he had told me his opinion, 'It may he so, there is no arguing against facts and experiments, — so cold was he to all sense of fame at a time when, as Tillotson said, a man has formed his last understanding.'" This conversation must have taken place in 1726, when Molyneux's instrument was in use at Kew; but the nutation, though proposed at that time as an explanation of the change of declination of γ Draconis, was not discovered till 1747 by Bradley. — See Rigaud's Life of Bradley, p. lxii. and pp. 2, 3.


Mr. Hearne, in a memorandum dated April 4, 1726, states that a great quarrel happened between Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Halley. We have not been able to find any traces of it. If we suppose the above date to be 1727, the rumour of a quarrel may have originated in the fact, that on the 2d March 1727, Sir Isaac had called attention to the omission on Halley's part, as Astronomer-Royal, to send to the Society a copy of his Annual Observations, as required by the late Queen's letter. — See Memoirs of the Astronomical Society, vol. viii, p. 188.


"Whiston," says Mrs. Conduitt, "had spread it abroad that Sir Isaac abstained from eating rabbits because strangled, and from black puddings, because made of blood. This," she adds, "is not true. Sir Isaac said that meats strangled were forbidden, because that was a painful death, and the letting out the blood the easiest, — that animals should be put to as little pain as possible, and that the reason why eating blood was forbidden, was because it was thought eating of blood inclined men to be cruel. — C. C."


Pope's letter to Conduitt. See APPENDIX, No. XXVII.


Conduitt's MSS.


This anecdote, which may relate to the putting up of pictures in churches, I have given in the words of Mrs. Conduitt, with whose initials it is signed.


"He was very kind to all the Ayscoughs. To one he gave £800, to another £200, and to a third £100, and many other sums; and other engagements did he enter into also for them. He was the ready assistant of all who were any way related to him, — to their children and grandchildren." — Annual Register, 1776, vol. xix. p. 25. He gave a regular allowance to his niece, Mrs. Pilkington, and on the 12th August 1725, he presented £100 to Mary Clarke to "augment her portion."


He gave money to Stirling, and brought him from Venice; and in 1719 and 1720 he presented to Pound, the astronomer, one hundred guineas, in two gifts of fifty guineas each. — Rigaud's Bradley, p iii., in note


In 1687-8 he had a law-suit with Mr. Storer, his tenant at Woolsthorpe, in order to compel him to scour the drains, and repair the thatch, and the walls, and palings of the swine-cot and cow-house, which he was bound by his lease to leave in good order. I have found the scroll of a long and characteristic letter addressed to a friend, "who had undertaken the office of an arbitrator." He thanks him for doing so, and expresses his hearty wish that he "may inherit the blessing promised to peace-makers." — See APPENDIX, No. XXXIII.

There is another scroll of a short letter to "Cosin John Newton," his heir-at-law, written about May 1720, and of a similar character. "I understand," he says, "that Thomas Hubbard agreed with you to leave his farm at Lady-day next, and that I was to allow him ten pounds for his manure. But now I am told that he would become tenant to it at eleven pounds per annum. This would be departing from the bargain already made, in order to make a new one. But there being sufficient witnesses of the bargain already made, I expect that he stand to it, and I desire you to demand it of him in my name, and to send me his answer, if he refuses to sign articles pursuant to what has been already agreed upon."


Conduitt's MSS.




Conduitt's MS.




See this volume, pp. 89 and 93.


Epistolary Correspondence, vol. i. p. 180. Sect. 77.


MSS. Memoranda in the Bodleian Library.


It is not true, as has been stated, that the original of this bust is in the possession of the Marquis of Lansdowne. The bust of Newton at Bowood Park is a copy of the one in the Library of Trinity, executed for his Lordship by Bailey.


"I have taken," says Dr. Stukely, "several sketches from his side face, which are very like him. I being present with him and Sir Godfrey (Kneller) at painting <415> his great picture to be sent to France, desired Sir Isaac to let Sir Godfrey paint his side face, a profile as we call it, for me. 'What!' said Sir Isaac, 'would you make a model of me ?' and refused it, though I was then in highest favour with him." — Stukely's Letter to Conduitt, Grantham, July 22, 1727.


Turnor's Collections, p.176.


The original of these lines, which we have seen in Pope's own handwriting, is slightly different, and inferior to those in the text: —

Nature and all her laws lay hid in night,

God said, "Let Newton be," and all was Light.


1 The anecdote of the falling apple is not mentioned by Dr. Stukely, nor by Pemberton, who conversed with Newton about the origin of his discoveries, and mentions the anecdote of Newton's sitting in a garden. I find, however, a reference to an apple in the following memorandum by Conduitt. "In the same year, (at his mother's in Lincolnshire,) when musing in a garden it came into his thoughts that the same power of gravity, which made an apple fall from the tree to the ground, was not limited to a certain distance." See vol. i. p. 27, note.

After quoting some interesting passages from Kepler on gravity, Mr. Drinkwater Bethune justly remarks, "Who, after perusing such passages in the works of an author which were in the hands of every student of astronomy, can believe that Newton waited for the fall of an apple to set him thinking for the first time on the theory which has immortalized his name? An apple may have fallen, and Newton may have seen it; but such speculations as those which it is asserted to have been <417> the cause of originating in him, had been long familiar to the thoughts of every one in Europe pretending to the name of Natural Philosopher." — Life of Kepler, p. 24. See vol. i. p. 268.


"This is to acquaint you," says N. Facio, "that I have agreed with Mr. Benjamin Steele, the watchmaker, at £15, for him to make the watch for Dr. Bentley. It will be with four pierced rubies and four diamonds, and I hope will be worth the money." — Letter to Newton, dated Worcester, June 15, 1717.


This date is obviously an error, as Miss Barton did not become Mrs. Conduitt till 1717. Professor De Morgan, who examined it, says, "that any one who looks at the inscription will see that it is not an old watch. It is neither ornamented nor placed in a shield or other envelope, while the case is beautifully chased, and has an elaborate design representing Fame and Britannia examining the portrait of Newton." — Notes and Queries, No. 210, p. 430. The dial-plate is obviously new. Mr. Turnor, in whose possession I saw the watch, told me that he purchased it in the Curiosity Shop at WarwicK.


In the woodcut the light parts are silver, and the dark ground is filled up with a substance which is dark in all the compartments and shields containing numbers, and reddish in the merely ornamental portions.


The following is the explanation given by M. Otto Struve: —

"The engravings compose a perpetual Julian Kalendar, and one very complete for the first 38 years of the last century, but which may still be partly used at the present day and in the future.

"1. The Lid of the Box.

"The numbers in the 19 shields which form its periphery, give in the first lines the dates of Easter for the years from 1700 to 1738. The month of March is there indicated by:, the month of April by A. In a shield (the 12th) we find also the sign + in the middle of two numbers of the first line, (1 + 29.) The sign here indicates that the first number belongs to the month of April, and the second to the month of March. In all the other cases the two numbers of the first line are those of the months indicated by the signs above mentioned.

"Each shield refers to two years, which are 19 years distant from one another. The first shield, which relates to the years 17OO and 1719, is that which is placed above the crown, (beneath the Hamilton Arms,) and a little to the right. In setting out from this first shield in a direction to the right, the numbers in the second line indicate the two years after 1700 to which Easter corresponds in the first line. Such numbers are found only in each fourth shield between which the numbers corresponding to the intermediate years ought to be supplied. In place of numbers, the second line presents to us, for these intermediate years, the initials of the days of the week which refer to the dates given in the central square of the lid. All the dates in this central square fall upon the same day of the week, indicated for each year by the initials which we read in the second and in the third line of the peripheral shields. The sign + which we find near some of the initials, indicates that the corresponding year is leap year, and that for this reason the days of the week have made leaps of two days. In the shields where there are numbers in place of initials, we must supply the days of the week with the assistance of the initials in the adjoining shields.

"The initials in the third line of the peripheral shields are only the continuation of those in the second line. The numbers in the third line are the golden numbers, and correspond equally to the two years indicated in the second line. The large cross which is in the eleventh shield for the year 1710, indicates that in this year a new lunar cycle commences. For this year the golden number is 1. As in the second line in the shields, and also in the third line where there is no mark of initials, we must supply them with the assistance of the adjacent shields, and vice versa for the numbers.

"With respect to the central square, we must still add that the Roman numerals indicate the month, — No. I. signifying March; II. April, and so on. The Arabic <420> numerals are the days of the month indicated above or below, to which correspond the initials of the days of the week in the peripheral shields. It is thus that, for example, for the year 1700 all the dates of the central square are Monday, for 1710 Saturday, &c. This part of the Kalendar may find an application even at present. For this purpose we must subtract 1700 from the year in question, and divide the difference by 28. The remainder is the year of the solar cycle for which we must seek in the peripheral shields the initial of the day of the week which corresponds, for the year in question, to the dates furnished by the central square.

"2. The Bottom of the Box.

"In the central rectangle the small arrows attached to the numbers point to the true solar time of sunset for the beginning of each month, Old Style, where they give the numbers of hours between the true noon and the rising or setting of the sun, that is, the semi-diurnal arc of the sun for the date in question. The months are there indicated as on the lid by Roman cyphers. The Arabic numerals 4, 5, &c., are the entire hours, the half-hours being indicated fleur-de-lys, and the quarters by points, and it is possible to obtain from this table the time required to two or three minutes nearly. This table is suited nearly to the latitude of London, the computer having neglected the effect of refraction.

"The elliptical compartments, both above and below the central rectangle, contain the equation of time. The letters in it are the initials of the names of the month, and the numbers indicate either the days of the month, or the quantity of the equation of time. The sign of the sun signifies that at the four dates near which it is found, the equation of time is zero. These four dates divide the year into four periods. For each of these periods the elliptical compartments give with their corresponding dates the maximum of the equation of time expressed in minutes and in seconds. In the two periods when this equation is greatest, we find also the dates at which the equation is 14, 12, or 34 of the corresponding maximum. The sign horizontal_brace symbol in text is a little obscure, but it may be satisfactorily explained if we suppose it to indicate that the numbers which are under it do not belong to the preceding maximum of the equation.

"The legend on the right side of the central rectangle gives the time of high water for the days of full moon, but these times differ considerably from those now observed.

"The legend on the left hand of the central rectangle is still a little enigmatic. The supposition of M. Quetelet, that the numbers in it are more precise indications of the hours of sunrise and sunset, cannot be correct, for these hours are given with more precision in the central rectangle. The constant difference of 48 minutes between each adjacent couple of numbers, makes us suppose, on the contrary, that these numbers relate to the relative diurnal motion of the sun and moon, which is confirmed also by the words in the legend.


"POULKOVA, 131 April 1853."


The word Sou may mean Setting or Southing. Shin means Shining or Rising. <421> Upon the more probable supposition that Sou means Setting, the legend directs us to go Round for Setting, and Back for Rising, which would give —

Setting.Rising.Setting.Rising. January,4h 0′8h 0′4h 0′8h 0′ February,4 487 124 457 13 March,5 366 245 416 19 April,6 245 366 425 18 May,7 124 487 354 25 Beginning ofJune,8 04 08 93 51 July,8 04 08 04 0 August,7 124 487 174 43 September,6 245 366 195 41 October,5 366 245 246 26 November,4 487 124 267 34 December,4 08 03 508 10

The last two columns are a part of the table of the sun's rising and setting from Arthur Hopton's "Concordancy of Yeares," 1616. In the last column of this table 7h 13′ is a misprint for 7h 15′.

"If sou is to be read southing, it means that the southing is 4h, 4h 48′, &c., after rising; but this is not the most likely meaning."


This tract, entitled Isaaci Newtoni Propositiones de Motu, forms No. I. of the Appendix to Professor Rigaud's Historical Essay on the Principia.


The words in Italics are an interlineation.

[611] See this Volume, page 8.

[612] The letters on Fluxions in Wallis's Works, vol. ii. pp. 391-396.

[613] The letter of Leibnitz is dated 28th March, though in the title prefixed to it by Wallis, and in the following letter, the date is made 28th May.

[614] This memorandum is placed at the very foot of the page, apparently for the purpose of its being cut off.


Conti's defence of himself, referred to in note 2, page 305, is published without his name in the Bibliothèque Francaise for May and June 1726. Amsterdam, pp. 182-193.


From the Life of Brook Taylor, p. 121.


Kilmansegg or Kilmansegger.


Des Maizeaux.


Conti was a great favourite of the King, who had invited him to Hanover, and with whom he dined every day.


Dated Paris, 16th February 1709.


See page 68.


Dist. vera 89°.


Flamsteed says that they were dated November 10.


October 11, 1706.


See Baily's Flamsteed, p. 261.


See Baily's Flamsteed.


Flamsteed mentions this sum as given to one of Newton's servants for assisting him in the calculations.


The "Figures for the frontispieces and capitals" were engraved by Catenaro, who, upon "complaining that the first agreement was too hard a bargain," received £20 additional.


Flamsteed, in his petition to the Queen, December 29, 1710, distinctly states that his Catalogue of 3000 Fixed Stars was finished and ready to be transcribed. <490> "I have made further advances." he adds, "than 'tis proper to mention here, and might have presented your Majesty with the whole work perfected before this time, if his Royal Highness's noble intentions had not been prevented, and my endeavours continually obstructed by those who ought, and whose duty I conceive it was, to have seconded and promoted both." — Baily's Flamsteed, p. 278.


This is the only place where Swift speaks of Mrs. Barton's lodgings; and it is important to observe, that Newton was at that very time removing from Chelsea to St. Martin's Street, so that Mrs. Barton was probably occupying lodgings for a short time while the house was preparing for her uncle. It is quite clear also, from the extracts dated October 9, 25, and November 28, 1711, that Mrs. Barton was living at Newton's house in Leicester Fields. At this time, too, Mrs. Barton, at Swift's request, carried a message from Bolingbroke to Newton. — See this volume, p. 267, and Edleston's Correspondence, &c., Lett. xxi. p. 36.


Had Mrs. Barton lived with Halifax, Swift, who "loved her better than any body in London," would not have been teased by the invitation.


The wife of Sir Robert Worsley, Bart., and only daughter of Viscount Weymouth.


Mrs. Barton lived with Newton in Martin Street, Leicester Fields.


Professor De Morgan says that Mrs. Barton's intimacy with Swift was probably through Halifax. It was more probably through Lady Betty Germaine, whom Swift had known from her childhood. Lady Betty was a daughter of the Earl of Berkeley, to whom Swift had been chaplain and private secretary. Many of her letters to Swift are published in his Correspondence.


Swift's Works, vol. xvii. p. 101. Edit. Edin. 1784.


Mrs. Barber was a great friend and favourite of Swift. She was the author of a volume of poems, which were dedicated to the Earl of Orrery, and the proposals here referred to, were probably proposals to publish her poems by subscription. — See Swift's Works, vol. xvii. p. 77, and vol. xviii. p. 55.


The Abbé Conti. Newton must have forgotten or forgiven the offence which he had taken at the Abbé, for having "assisted Leibnitz in engaging him in new disputes." See pp. 305, 306, and APPENDIX No. III. p. 431. The conduct of the Abbé in reference to his Chronology appears to have revived the former feelings of Newton.


John Keill was born in Edinburgh in 1671, and studied mathematics there under David Gregory, whom he accompanied to Oxford in 1694, having obtained one of the Scotch Exhibitions in Balliol College. He acquired a high reputation at Oxford as a teacher of the Newtonian philosophy, by apparatus provided by himself. His Introductio ad Veram Physicam appeared in 1701, and his Introductio ad Veram Astronomiam in 1708. He was appointed Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford in 1710, and in 1711 he entered the lists against Leibnitz and Bernoulli, as the able and staunch champion of Newton, as will be seen in the first two chapters of this volume. He died in 1721, in the 50th year of his age.


M. Arlaud, an eminent Swiss painter, who resided in Paris, and improved some of the diagrams for Coste's French translation of Newton's Optics, which appeared in 1722. — See Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. 88.


July 5th.


This letter will be found in p. 511, sect. 3.


This letter is published in the Contemplatio Philosophica, pp. 84-88.


See Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. 187.


This is the wine mentioned in p. 491, as intended for Miss Barton.

[645] This letter is published at the end of Keill's letter to Bernoulli.


He even says that Newton wrote against 1 John v. 7, as other orthodox persons have done. Page xxi. Tracts, &c. Lond. 1820.


The Quæries after No. 14 are not numbered in the original.


The nephew of the celebrated James Gregory, the Inventor of the Reflecting Telescope.


This must have been after October 1725. — See pp. 385, 387.


This entail was executed in 1724, a year or two before Sir Richard's death.


Origin and Progress of the Mechanical Inventions of James Watt. By James Patrick Muirhead, Esq., A.M. Vol. ii p. 252. Lend. 1854.


See this volume, page 410, note.


There is a slight allusion to it in the Correspondence, &c., p. 109.


The first number for the page is the number in the 3d edition, and the second number is that in the 2d edition.


Suggested by Pemberton.




Suggested by Pemberton.


Suggested by Pemberton.


The word Pemb. indicates that the alteration was made at the suggestion of Pemberton.


If Newton had complied with Pemberton's suggestion, all the difficulties connected with the motion of the moon's apogee would have been avoided. The para <555> graph to which Pemberton's suggestion relates, viz., "Diminui tamen debet motus Augis sic inventus in ratione 5 ad 9 vel 1 ad 2 circiter, ob causam quam hic exponere non vacat," clearly implies that Newton knew the reason.


In this letter Pemberton calls Newton's attention to lines 24, 25, 26, 27, of page 341, and asks him to compare them with the second paragraph of the Scholium to <556> Prop. 34, Book ii. p. 300; "for," he says, "if what is inserted in these lines before us be universally true, without any restriction, how can what is delivered in that paragraph be of any use in the forming of ships?"

© 2018 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

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