Isaac Newton’s Works

Sorted by date

1.

Pierpont Morgan Notebook

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MA 318, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00001

2.

'Quæstiones quædam Philosophiæ' ('Certain Philosophical Questions')

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3996, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00092

3.

Trinity College Notebook

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: R.4.48c, Trinity College Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: PERS00001

4.

Fitzwilliam Notebook

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00069

5.

Mathematical Notebook

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 4000, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00128

6.

Newton's Waste Book

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 4004, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00176

7.

Notebook containing notes and experimental reports

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3975, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00110

8.

The Lawes of Motion

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3958.5, ff. 81r-83v, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00105

9.

Unarranged fragments, mostly relating to the dispute with Leibniz

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3968, ff. 594r-619v, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00385

10.

Method of Curves and Infinite Series, and application to the Geometry of Curves

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3960.14, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00299

11.

'Of Colours'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3975, pp. 1-22, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00004

12.

Apographum schediasmatis a Newtono olim scripti

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3968, ff. 1r-2v, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00345

13.

De Solutione Problematum per Motum

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3958.3, ff. 68r-76v, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00101

14.

The October 1666 Tract on Fluxions

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 3958.3, ff. 48v-63v, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00100

15.

Transcript of 'Sr George Ripley His Epistle to K Edward unfolded'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 52, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00041

16.

Lectiones Opticae

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 4002, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00306

17.

Letter from Newton to a friend, together with Collins's description of a telescope mentioned in the Newton letter

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 9597/2/18/3, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00226

18.

Letter from Newton to Francis Aston, dated 18 May 1669

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS Add. 9597/2/18/4, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00227

19.

De Analysi per aequationes numero terminorum infinitas

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: MS/81/4, Royal Society Library, London, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: NATP00204

20.

'Verses at the end of B[asil] Valentine's mystery of the Microcosm'

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 63, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00052

21.

Notes from Petavius on the Nicene Council

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 4, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00004

22.

Part of an exposition of 2 Kings, 17:15-16

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Ms. 437, The Babson College Grace K. Babson Collection of the Works of Sir Isaac Newton, Huntington Library, San Marino, California, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00082

23.

Exposition of 2 Kings 17:15-16

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Yahuda Ms. 21, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00064

24.

Two incomplete treatises on the vegetative growth of metals and minerals

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: NMAHRB Ms. 1031 B, Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA

Newton Catalogue ID: ALCH00081

25.

Exposition of 2 Kings 17:15-16

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Ms. 130, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, USA

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00110

[1]

Described and partially published (as far as the conjuring tricks), with selected facsimiles of the later pages, in D.E. Smith, 'Two Unpublished Documents of Isaac Newton', 16-31. One very brief shorthand entry ('A remedy for a Ague') is deciphered in Westfall, 'Short Writing', 13. The word-lists are based on Francis Gregory's school text-book Nomenclatura brevis anglo-Latinis (1654), though with some interesting and (debatably) suggestive additions and variants: see Manuel, Portrait, 11-12, 27, 30, 34, 37, 69-70, 397-8.

[2]

Pocket memorandum notebook covering the end of Newton's schooldays and the beginning of his university career.

On the first leaf (in Newton's hand): 'Isacus Newton hunc librum possidet teste Edwardo Secker pret: 2d ob. 1659'. Contains technical advice on drawing, various medical recipes, instructions for performing conjuring tricks, astronomical charts, accounts of Copernican astronomy and 'Drebles Motion' [i.e. the supposed perpetual motion machine of Cornelius Drebbel], mathematical exercises, notes on universal character, and several lists of words, under assorted subject headings, beginning with the same letter.

One of four notebooks, with those in Trinity College Library, Cambridge University Library and the Fitzwilliam Museum, which supply the main source of evidence about Newton's interests and activities during his early years at Cambridge.

[3] 58ff.

[4]

in English

[5]

This undergraduate notebook charts the beginnings of Newton's scientific career. Ignoring the traditional Aristotelian curriculum, Newton packed his private notebook with analyses and criticisms of the latest theories in mathematics, optics and physics, together with a wide range of his own 'philosophical questions'.

[6]

The last section (ff. 87-135) is reproduced (in both diplomatic and modernised transcriptions), with an extensive introduction and commentary, in McGuire and Tamny, Certain Philosophical Questions (text on pp. 329-465). See also the detailed discussion in Westfall, Never at Rest, 89-97.

[7]

On front flyleaf: 'Isaac Newton/ Trin: Coll Cant/ 1661', and, in Thomas Pellet's hand: Sep. 25 1727/ Not fit to be printed/ T: Pellet'. Written from both ends: the foliation, which was added later (probably by University Library staff) starts from the front (30 ff. including the front flyleaf as f. 1) and resumes from the back (ff. 31-140).

ff. 3-15 Greek notes from Aristotle's Organon.

ff. 16-26r Latin notes from Johannes Magirus's Physiologiæ peripateticæ.

ff. 26v-30v English notes on astronomy.

[from back of book:]

ff. 34r-81v Greek and Latin notes from various sources.

ff. 83r-v English notes on Descartes.

ff. 87r-135r 'Questiones quædam Philosophcæ [sic]', in English. Notes on a huge range of topics relating to natural philosophy and reflecting the development of Newton's personal and largely extra-curricular interests during his student years. Some of the last entries ('Of God', f. 128, 'Of ye Creation', f. 129, 'Of ye soule', f. 130) introduce a theological note.

[8] 140 ff. of which 13 blank.

[9]

in Greek, Latin and English

[10]

[11]

Newton's undergraduate accounts book, giving a fascinating insight into his lifestyle as a student. Though generally frugal, he records occasional indulgences: beer and wine, a visit to the tennis court, and a surprisingly large outlay on cherries. The notebook also reveals that he was operating a money-lending operation for his fellow students.

[12]

See Brewster (1855), 1: 17-18.

[13]

Contains Newton's expense accounts from 19 March 1659 (i.e. 1660?) through his early years at Cambridge.

On the cover: a fragment in shorthand. Inscribed on the first page: 'Quisquis in hunc librum teneros conjecit ocellos./ Nomen subscriptum perlegat ipse meum./ Isaac Newton. Martij 19 1659.' pp. 3-38 consist of a guide to Latin pronunciation headed 'Vtilissimvm prosodiae svpplementvm'. Then follow 13 pp. of personal expenses under the headiings 'Impensa Propria' and 'Otiose & frustra expensa'.

[14] 50pp.

[15]

in Latin and English

[16]

The notebook has been written from both ends: the expenses listed on pp. i-xii are written from the back of the book, the remaining pages from the front. The expenses are here placed first as they are much the most interesting part of the document.

[17]

Folio 2 of the Latin textbook appears to have been bound out of sequence; it clearly belongs between folios 8 and 9, and is placed there in the transcription.

[18]

Miscellaneous notebook containing Newton's accounts for 1665-9, a series of increasingly complicated mathematical problems, and a highly revealing personal confession. At Whitsun 1662, Newton compiled a list of all the 47 sins he could remember having committed in his life, from stealing cherries to "threatning my [step]father and mother ... to burne them and the house over them". The accounts section charts the beginning of his study of alchemy in 1669, with purchases of books, materials and a furnace to equip the makeshift laboratory he set up in the grounds of Trinity College.

[19]

Described and partly published in Brewster (1855), 1: 31-3. The shorthand section deciphered and discussed in Westfall, 'Short-Writing and the State of Newton's Conscience, 1662'.

[20]

Contains expense lists, a confession of Newton's sins, and miscellaneous problems in mathematics and physics

Flyleaf inscribed 'Isaac Newton/ pret. 8d'. This is followed by a sequence of letters (the key to a cipher?), reading:

'Nabed Efyhik

Wfnzo Cpmfke'.

The book proper begins with shorthand notes on 3 pp., dated 1662, and detailing Newton's sins before and after Whitsunday of that year. Then follows a list of expenses, 7 pp., dated from 23 May 1665 to April 1669 (about 140 entries), including assorted chemicals, two furnaces and a copy of the Theatrum chemicum [ed. Lazarus Zetzner, 1659-61: H1608] bought in April 1669. On f. 10v another hand has listed the names of four German noblemen.

The other end of the book begins with 'Nova Cubi Hebræi Tabella' on 1 p., followed by various problems in geometry and the conic sections (ellipsis, parabola, hyperbole, etc.), with diagrams, 24 pp. On the back flyleaf in Thomas Pellet's hand: 'Sep 25 1727/ Not fit to be printed/ T Pellet'.

[21] 34 pp. on 118 ff.

[22]

in English

[23] 170 pp.

[24]

[25] 2181 ff.

[26] Newton's Waste Book (Part 1) Newton's Waste Book (Part 2) Newton's Waste Book (Part 3)

[27]

The first, primarily optical, section of the manuscript (to p. 22) is discussed in A.R. Hall, 'Further optical experiments of Isaac Newton', Annals of Science 11 (1955), 27-43, and transcribed in McGuire and Tamny, Certain Philosophical Questions, 466-89. Article 64 (on the optic nerve) was first published (with due acknowledgment) in Joseph Harris, Treatise on Optics (1775), 108-10, with a copy of the diagram in the plate following p. 110, and again from Harris's edition by Brewster (1855), 1: 432-6. Several extracts from the following pages printed in A.R. and M.B. Hall, 'Newton's chemical experiments'. Experiments on pp. 45-6 printed in Brewster (1855), 2: 366-7. pp. 81-2 printed in Dobbs, Foundations, 249-50. See also H254-H276 for Newton's extensive Boyle collection.

[28]

Covers a range of subjects, principally optics and chemistry. A number of the chemical notes are closely related to those in Additional Ms. 3973.

On both sides of the fly-leaf: a table with notes of the value, hardness and other properties of various gems.

pp. 1-22 'Of Colours': a series of 64 'articles'. Articles 1-5: notes on experiments 9, 10 and 11 in Boyle's Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1664). Arts. 6-26: experiments with prisms. Arts. 27-43: on the effects of thin layers of air or water between prisms. Arts. 44-8: further experiments with prisms, including (46-8) the production of white and other colours of light by admixture. Art. 49: reflection at two contiguous glass surfaces. Art. 50: on the phenomena of colours in thin flakes of glass, soap bubbles and thin films of metal or water. Arts. 51-3: experiments on the effects of internal reflection of light in spheres of water, with several references to Descartes. Art. 54: on the effect of oblique rays on the size of the spot at contact of two glasses. Art. 55: on the diminished reflective power of a glass surface when placed in water. Arts. 56-7: on the reflective effects of powders and 'flawed' bodies with multiple reflecting surfaces. Arts. 58-62: notes on the effects of distorting the eyeball, including a diagram of Newton's experiment of putting a bodkin 'betwixt my eye & ye bone as neare to ye backside of ye eye as I could: & pressing my eye with ye end of it' (facsimile in Westfall, Never at Rest, 95). Art. 63: on the after-image of colours on the retina. Art. 64: an account of the retina and optic nerve, with a diagram.

p. 22 Calculations of the 'thicknesse of a vibration' of light passing through various media; notes from Boyle's 'Of ye determinate nature of Effluviums' [1673] on heightened sense perception during illness; notes on vegetable substances that 'turn vitriol to a black precipitate'.

p. 23 Recipe 'To make excellent Ink'.

pp. 25-41 'Of Cold, & Heate'. Notes 'On the Mechanical Origin of Heat and Cold', mainly from Boyle [Experiments, Notes, &c. about the Mechanical Origine or Production of divers particular Qualities (1675)] but including some observations either of Newton's own or from another source.

[pp. 42-4 blank]

pp. 45-6 More notes from Boyle. An incomplete experiment on the height of the thermometer in various substances. Others on the expansion of air and linseed oil when heated.

pp. 49-51 'Of fire, flame, ye heate & ebullition of ye heart & divers mixed liquors & Respiration': notes from Boyle's New Experiments Physico-mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air (1660). An account of experiments on flame, with the conclusion 'yt flame & vapour differ onely as bodys red hot & not red hot' (pp. 49-50), and that heat is 'made by division of parts: for when two particles are parted it makes ye æther rush in betwixt ym and so vibrate' (p. 51).

p. 51 'The Phosphorus': a recipe for making it from urine and sand.

[pp. 53-60 blank]

pp. 61-5 'Of fformes & Transmutations wrought in them': notes from Boyle [The Origine of Formes and Qualities (1666)] with page references.

p. 65 Excerpts from Starkey's Pyrotechny Asserted [1658].

p. 66 Note on a petrifying spring in Peru, from a Spanish treatise on 'The Art of metals' translated by the Earl of Sandwich.

[pp. 57-70 blank]

pp. 71-80 'Of Salts, & Sulphureous bodys, & Mercury & Mettalls': extracts from Boyle [The Origine of Formes and Qualities (1666)].

p. 80 Recipe for the extraction of mercury from the nitrate and from corrosive sublimate by various other metals.

pp. 81-2 Recipes for making regulus of antimony by different metals.

pp. 83-4 Notes of alloys which fuse at low temperatures, and others which give a crystalline mass from fusion. Notes on the reaction of various chemicals with salt, including that of tartarum vitriolatum ('it makes a great effervescence, and an earthy sediment is precipitated out of the salt of Tartar [...] This precipitate some \fools/ call Magisterium Tartari Vitriolati' (p. 84)): reference to David Vonder Becke as an authority for this.

pp. 85-92 Notes and extracts mainly from various works of Boyle.

pp. 93-100 Various recipes and extracts on chemical reactions, chiefly from Boyle.

p. 101 Recipes for various preparations of antimony. Note of the action of corrosive sublimate on various ores.

p. 102-4 Notes of experiments on the preparation of regulus of antimony and the action of corrosive sublimate on antimony, silver, and mercury; of the heat produced by mixing oil of vitriol with water or spirit of wine [alcohol]; of the preparation of ether and oil of wine.

pp. 104-5 Notes on the warmth emitted on mixing water with spirit of antimony, and of various chemical reactions: the last (on saturation of spirit of antimony by different substances) has blanks left for the quantities.

pp. 106-7 Further chemical experiments. Note on the composition of fusible metal.

pp. 108-12 Chemical experiments chiefly on preparations of antimony and scoria of reguluses. 'N' [presumably 'N[ota]'] marked in the margin against several of these.

p. 113 Notes on the action of distilled liquor of antimony on salts of lead, iron and copper; action of heat on tartarised antimony.

p. 114 Notes on the action of spar on distilled liquor of antimony, vinegar, and aquafortis, and of salt from the clay of lead mines on the same; action of nitre on antimony.

pp. 115-16 Notes on the action of oil of vitriol on lead ore, and of an antimonial sublimate on several substances.

pp. 117-20 Experiments with 'ven. vol.' ['venus volans' or 'volatisata'].

p. 121 Deleted note in Latin that on 10, 14 and 15 May 1681 Newton comprehended various alchemical names.

p. 122 Another deleted note in Latin that on 18 May [presumably 1681] he finished deciphering the alchemical symbol of the 'caduceus' ['rod of mercury'], followed by experiments dated 10 June on sublimation of green and blue vitriol with sal ammoniac and of the resulting sublimate with lead ore.

pp. 123-6 Experiments dated May and June 1682 on sublimation of various salts with sal ammoniac, and various metals and alloys with sal ammoniac and with antimony.

pp. 127-30 Experiments dated 6 June and 4 July 1682 on obtaining regulus from a mixture of lead ores, antimony and bismuth; and others similar.

p. 131 Experiments on the action of various reguluses with an unspecified spirit [of salt?].

pp. 132-4 Further experiments on sublimation, with the date Tuesday 19 July [no year] at the top of p. 133.

pp. 135-9 Experiment dated 29 Feb. 1683/4 on the preparation of chlorides of mercury.

pp. 140-49 Various experiments relating to 'the net' [an elaborate alchemical concept for discussion of which see Dobbs, Foundations, 161-3]. One experiment (p. 149) is dated 'Friday May 23' [no year].

p. 150 Experiments on the spirit of zinc, dated 'Apr. 26, 1686 Wednesday'.

pp. 151-8 Experiments on alloys of copper, antimony and iron, incomplete here but resumed on p. 267.

pp. 159-167, 169-174, 177-182 (intermediate pages blank) Extracts, chiefly from Boyle but with others from Starkey and van Helmont, on 'The medical virtues of Saline & other Præparations'.

[pp. 183-6 blank]

pp. 187-193 'Medical observations', principally drawn from Boyle.

[pp. 194-206 blank]

p. 207 'Of volatile salts of Animal & vegetable substances': further extracts from Boyle.

[p. 208 blank]

pp. 209-223 'Of Alcalia': extracts from Starkey's Pyrotechny Asserted (1658: H1553).

pp. 224-264 Largely blank, except for a series of headings (only two of which have any text attached), as follows: 'Gross Ingredients' (p. 227); 'ffirst preparation' (p. 229); '3 Principles' (p. 231); '4 Elements' (p. 233); 'Mercuries' (p. 235), 'Sulphurs' (p. 237); 'Salts' (p. 239); 'ffires' (p. 241); 'Of ye work wth common [gold]', followed by notes and excerpts from 'Philalethes'' Secrets Reveal'd and Snyders' Commentatio de pharmaco catholico, gaps being left for page references (pp. 243-4); 'Of ye work with artificial [gold]' (p. 245); 'Times' (p. 247); 'Proportions' (p. 249); 'Hieroglyphicks' (p. 251); 'Progress of ye Decoction' (p. 253); 'Vse of ye stone' (p. 257); 'Miscellanies' (p. 259) 'Of ye work with common sol.', followed by cryptic references to various works of 'Philalethes' (p. 261).

p. 265 Recipe for 'Spiritus dulcis Vitrioli' and notes on its medical uses, in Latin.

p. 266 ff. Three pages (two of which are unnumbered) of medical recipes.

pp. 267-283 Resumption of experimental reports from p. 158, with further similar experiments on regulus of antimony and various alloys, interspersed (p. 267) with an account [from an unidentified source] of a 'menstruum' for extracting the 'tinctures' of all metals).

The rest of the book is blank apart from four pages at the end, which are taken up with notes of Newton's expenses on chemicals bought in 1687 while he was in London to appear before the Ecclesiastical Commission, similar chemical expenses in 1693, and notes on the preparation of sal ammoniac.

[29] 283 pp. + 4 pp. starting from the back.

[30]

mostly in English with some Latin and Greek

[31] 6 pp.

[32]

[33] 16 ff.

[34]

in French, English and Latin

[35] 53 pp.

[36]

in Latin with a few words of Greek

[37] Method of Curves and Infinite Series, and application to the Geometry of Curves (Part 1) Method of Curves and Infinite Series, and application to the Geometry of Curves (Part 2) Method of Curves and Infinite Series, and application to the Geometry of Curves (Part 3)

[38]

[39]

An illustrated account of Newton's first ventures into optical experimentation. Using his own eyes as subjects, he seriously risked blinding himself with experiments such as staring directly into the sun or poking a small knife into his eye socket to see what effect this would have on his visual perceptions. Astonishingly, his eyesight remained excellent until his death at the age of over eighty.

[40]

Develops the optical theories discussed in CUL Additional Ms. 3996.

[41] 22 pp.

[42]

in English

[43]

[44] 2 pp of 2 fos.

[45]

in English with some Latin

[46] 29 pp.

[47]

[48] 29 pp.

[49]

[50]

This does not correspond to any of the three published versions of the work in question and predates two of them (it appeared in Chymical, Medicinal, and Chirurgical Addresses made to Mr Samuel Hartlib Esq. (1655: H378), on its own in 1677 and in Ripley Reviv'd (1678: H1407)). It can be collated with BL Sloane 633, while the variant excerpts correspond to BL Sloane 3633. See Dobbs, Foundations, 113 and Wilkinson, 'Bibliographical puzzles', 235-44. See also Keynes Mss. 17, 51, 53, 54.

[51]

A complete transcript of this important alchemical tract [by 'Eirenæus Philalethes', i.e. George Starkey], plus excerpts from a variant version, beginning on f. 7v under the heading 'Ex chartis Mr Sloane'.

[52] 17 pp. on 9 ff.

[53]

in English with some Latin and Greek

[54] 129 ff.

[55]

in Latin with some English and Greek

[56]

[57] 1 f.

[58]

Published in H.W. Turnbull (ed), The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, vol. 1 (Cambridge: 1959), pp. 3-7

[59]

[60] 1 f.

[61]

Published in H.W. Turnbull (ed), The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, vol. 1 (Cambridge: 1959), pp. 9-11

[62]

[63] 15 pp. on 9 ff.

[64]

in Latin

[65]

Several extracts from verses on various chemicals, on the 'planets' that symbolise the metals, and on 'the first Matter'. On f. 10r, a small pen-and-ink drawing of an alchemical emblem (dogs chasing hares in a circle) illustrating one of the verses.

[66] 569 lines, 20 pp. on 10 ff.

[67]

in English

[68]

Notes on the First Nicene Council (325 AD), taken from the Church historian Denis Petau (Petavius).

[69]

See H1283-6 for Newton's collection of works by Petau, though these notes seem to predate any of the editions he owned.

[70] 52 pp.

[71]

in Latin

[72]

Described in the Babson catalogue as part of SL261, the bulk of which is now Yahuda Var. 1 Ms. 21 (see notes there for the sale history) and Harry Ransom Research Center Ms. 130. This document is clearly related to those two, but whether it actually constituted part of the same lot is still unclear.

[73] 4 pp. on 2 ff.

[74]

in English

[75] Exposition of 2 Kings 17:15-16 [Ms. 130] Exposition of 2 Kings 17:15-16 [Yahuda Ms. 21]

[76]

Same watermark as letters to Oldenburg of 18 August, 26 August and 24 October 1676.

[77]

The text is complete but was originally accompanied by a shorter version which is no longer present: this now constitutes Harry Ransom Research Center Ms. 130 and possibly Babson Ms. 437 (though this yields a total page count of 30, two higher than that in the Sotheby catalogue).

[78] 18 pp. on 15 ff.

[79]

in English

[80] Part of an exposition of 2 Kings, 17:15-16 [Ms. 437] Exposition of 2 Kings 17:15-16 [Ms. 130]

[81]

There appear to be pages missing between ff. 4-5 and ff. 12-13.

[82]

Both texts are related to the 'Hypothesis explaining the Properties of Light' Newton sent to the Royal Society in December 1675.

Reproduced in facsimile as an appendix to B.J.T. Dobbs, Alchemical Death. The English portion is described and transcribed in Dobbs, Janus Faces, 256-70 (Dobbs treats the first of the twelve subjects for enquiry as the title of the entire document). See also her 'Newton Manuscripts at the Smithsonian', 107, and P.M. Rattansi, 'Newton's Alchemical Studies'.

[83]

The first treatise (11 pp., in English) begins with a list of 12 numbered subjects for discussion, forming a putative draft outline of the work (though the text itself frequently departs from the sequence of subjects listed): e.g. '1 Of natures obvious laws & processes in vegetation', '2 That metalls vegetate after the same laws', etc. The very heavy reworking of the main text and absence of reference to other sources strongly suggest Newton's own composition, making this a centrally important document indicating the nature of his 'chymical' views in the mid-1670s. It is quite without accounts of specific laboratory processes and quite devoid of allegorical or symbolic terminology, and seems to represent the beginnings of an attempt to formulate a coherent and comprehensive theory of chemistry.

The second, shorter treatise is in Latin and written from the back of the document, beginning on f. 6v and continuing onto f. 6r. This is a distinct but closely related work also shedding important light on Newton's chymical and natural philosophical views, though until recently it has been almost wholly neglected by Newton scholars.

[84] 12 pp.

[85]

in English and Latin

[86]

This document appears to be the shorter draft, or part of it, which together with Yahuda Var. 1 Ms. 21 and possibly Babson Ms. 437 originally constituted SL261: see notes to the Yahuda entry for the sale history.

[87]

At the front of the manuscript: 'in ye mean time I have sent you a vicegerent wch I hope you will accept of & to hang up in your closet for a remembrance of me' (part of a draft letter?).

[88] 8 pp.

[89]

in English

[90] Part of an exposition of 2 Kings, 17:15-16 [Ms. 437] Exposition of 2 Kings 17:15-16 [Yahuda Ms. 21]

© 2020 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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