Sr Isaac Newton was born on Xmas Day 1642 O. S. at Woolstrope in the parish of Colsterworth {sic} in the County of Lincoln, near three months after the death of his father, who was descended from the eldest branch of the family of Sr Iohn Newton of Lincolnshire Bartt & was Lord of the said Mannor \r/ of Woolstrope, wch appears by authentick deeds to have been near 200 years in his family which came thither from Westby in the same County but originally from Newton {sic} in Lancashire from whence they {sic} famil probably had their name. His mother was Hannah Ascough of the \an/ antient \& honble/ family of \in/ the Ascoughs of {West} \County of Lincoln/ <1v> Overton in the County of {Chetham} She was married a second time, to the Reverend Mr Benjamin Smith Rector of North Witham & had by him a son & two daughters from whom are descended the four nephews & nieces who inherit Sr Isaac's personal estate —

Sr Isaac was sent when 12 years old to the great school at Grantham |wch was then under Mr. Stokes who had the character of being a very good Schoolmaster| where he shewed a strong disposition towards mechanicks & gave early tokens of an uncoon genius after he had been there some years his mother took him home intending he should apply himself to the <2r> management of his own estate, but his genius could not brook such an employment & the strong inclination he shewed for reading & inattention to every thing else induced his mother to send him to Grantham school again for nine months & thence to Trinity College at Cambridge, where he was admitted the 5th of Iune 1660 — He always informed himself before hand of the books his tutour intended to read & when he came to the lectures found he knew more of them than his tutour, the first books he read for that purpose were Sanderson's logick & Kepler's opticks


A desire to know wether there was any thing in judicial astrology first put him upon studying Mathematicks, he discovered the emptiness of that science \study/ the moment \as soon as/ he made \erected/ a figure for wch purpose he made use of 2 or 3 problems in Euclid wch he turned to by means of an Index & never read \did not then read/ the rest but despised it upon the whole as a trifling book \& despised Euclid/ |looking upon it as a book containing only plain & obvious things|, he went at once upon Descartes's Geometry & made himself master of it by dint of genius & application without going throu the usual steps or the assistance <3r> of any other person – In 1664 he bought a prism to try some experiments upon Des Cartes's book \doctrine/ of colours & soon found out his own Hypothesis \Theory/ & the erroneousness of Descartes's \Hypothesis./ – About this time he began to have the first hint of his method of fluxions & in the year 1665 when he retired to his own estate on account of the Plague he \first/ discovered \first thought of/ his system of gravity wch he fell into \hit upon/ by observing an apple fall from a tree \a heavy body fall to the ground/

He made \laid the foundation of/ all his discoveries before he was 24 {sic} years old, & long before <3v> that counicated most of them in loose tracts & letters to the Royal Society of wch so \an/ ample an account is given in the Royal Socie Coercium Epistolicum & now I am on that subject \excuse the duty & affection of a relation to a dear benefactor/ |&| give me leave Sr to observe to you that as \since/ many \new/ lights have appeared relating to that dispute it is expected from your candour & justice that you will alter & in some measure recall several passages in your works printed before those discoveries were made, — In your Eloge upon the Marquis de L'Hopital you say – le calcul differentiel inventè par Monr Leibnitz et <4r> en meme tems par Monr Newton. I am confident you are perswaded (as I am credibly informed the Germans now are) not only that Sr Isaac made those discoveries invented the method of fluxions many years before |Mr| Leibnitz knew any thing of it, but that |Mr| Leibnitz took it from him – If the chain of circumstances & the clear evidence wch has been laid before the world were not sufficient, Mr Leibnitz's manner of defending himself would convince every body of what I have advanced. |He |Mr Leibnitz| lived several years after the Commerciū Epistolicum was printed &| Instead of answering matter of fact had recourse to little chicane & disputes \philosophical problems/ that were nothing to the purpose, & never offered one <4v> single proof in his own justification; the Coercium Epistolicum promised by him in his life time & by his friends after his death has never yet appeared, nor I beleive ever wil —– I have seen a letter writt by \wherein/ Mr Bernoulli absolutely denies in the strongest terms that he was the author of the Charta volans fathered upon him by Mr Leibtnitz wch proves what was always |gives is a farther reason to| suspect {sic} that he himself was the author of that libel wch was the only defence he ever made, & that his cause was so bad as to oblige him to have recourse to shifts & practices very <5r> unworthy of so great a man –

In the \your/ Eloge of Mr Leibnitz, you say – Ce que Mr. Newton appelloit fluxions M. Leibnitz l'appelloit differences et le caractere par lequel M. Leibnitz marquoit l'infiniment petit etoit beaucoup plus coode et d'un plus grand usage que celui de M. Newton. This \As this/ passage may perhaps be true but as the difference it leaves an opinion, at least with cursory readers that Mr Leibnitz was the first inventor thou in effect it is |a dispute whether Mr Leibnitz's Characters are more usefull & at all events that| is no argument at all of the invention, I flatter my self you will do <5v> Sr Isaac the justice to mention to the world that thou |M| Leibnitz pretended to be the first inventor of the differential \method/ of fluxions he \not only was not an inventor but/ never understood it enough to apply it to the system of the Universe wch was the great & glorious use Sr Isaac made of it — |Excuse Sr my warmth on the {head} & impute it to my the affection I but of a relation to a dear & honoured benefactor| |& I appeal to your own knowledge whether that great man the Marquis de L'Hopital did not acknowledge \own/ he was convinced of this before his /\ death —|

2 You are so well acquainted with the books Sr I. published that I need not say any thing to you on that subject – 1. I must not omitt telling you that the Sr I. recd the famous problem wch was sent \intended/ to puzzle all the Mathematicians in Europe at 4 a clock in the afternoon after be had been \when he was/ very much tired wth the business of <6r> the Mint where he had been employed all day, & yet solved it before he went to bed that night —

In 1667 he was elected fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge & in 1669 Dr Barrow resigned the Mathematical professorship to him – In 1671 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society. In 1675 he had a dispensation from K. C. 2 to continue fellow without taking orders. In 1687 he was chosen one of the delegates of the \to represent the/ University of Cambridge before the High Coission court to answer for their refusing to admitt Father Francis Master of arts upon the <6v> King's mandamus without his taking the oaths prescribed by the Statutes, & he was a great instrument in perswading his collegues to persist in the {sic} maintenance of their rights & priviledges.

In 1688 {sic} he was chosen by the University of Cambridge member of the Convention Parliament & sate in it till its dissolution – In 1696 the late Earl of Halifax, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, that great Patron of the learned writt him a letter to Cambridge acquainting him he had prevailed with the King <7r> to make him Warden of the Mint an office of honour & credit in wch \post/ he did signal service in the great recoinage wch happened soon after \at that time/.

In 1699 he was made Master & Worker of the Mint in wch he continued to his death & behaved himself with an universal character of integrity & disinterestedness & had frequent opportunities of employing his skill in Mathematicks & Chymistry particularly in his table of Assays of foreign coins wch is printed at the end of Dr Arbuthnott's book of coins —

In 1701 he made Mr Whiston his <7v> deputy professor of the Mathematicks at Cambridge & gave him all the salary from that time thou he did not absolutely resign the professorship till 1703. Upon the choice of a new Parliament in 1701 he was reelected member for the University

In 1705 he stood again with the present E. of Godolphin only son to the then Lord High Treasurer, but neither of them were chosen, after wch Sr Isaac stood no more — The same year he was Knighted by the Queen at Cambridge

In 1703 he was Elected President <8r> of the Royal Society & continued so above 23 years to his death, being the first who was President so long & was never discontinued. |In 1705. he was Knighted by Queen Anne at Cambridge|

At the University he spent the greatest \part of his/ time in his closet & when he was tired with his severer studies of Philosophy his only releif & amusement was going to some other \study/ as History Chronology Divinity & Chymistry all wch he examined & searched to thoroughly as appears by the many \rough/ papers he has left on those subjects, after his coming to London all the time he had to spare from his business & the civilities of <8v> life in wch he was scrupulously exact & complaisant were was employed the same way |& he was hardly ever alone without a pen in his hand & a book before him – & in all the studies he undertook he had a perseverance & patience equal to his sagacity & invention –|

You know already how the abstract of the \his/ Chronology came to be printed in France wch de That proceeding \& what passed upon it which/ determined him to print the work from whence the extract was made as privately as possible & keep the copies in his own possession, it is now in the press & will I hope be out before the 12. of Novr. I will do my self the honour to send you one of the first that are printed \as soon as it is printed./

Being \Sr Having been/ apprehensive that the manner in wch Pere Souciet attacked the <9r> abstract of the Chronology might affect Sr I. more than the arguments \themselves/ I had an extract made \prevailed with a friend to make \give/ an extract/ of all the real objections, stript of the \extraordinary/ ornaments they were \wth which they are/ cloathed with, & shewed \it/ them to Sr Isaac & I had the pleasure of finding the only effect they had upon him was to convince him of the ignorance of the author, he saw \read/ afterwards the whole book without altering his opinion, in wch he was not single as the world will soon see by a little tract \&/ Dr Halley has \a lately/ laid before the Royal Society \a little tract/ in answer to the Astronomical part <9v> of Pere Souciet's treatise, without ever having seen the proofs & authorities in \use \urged {illeg}// \used by/ Sr Isaac's cheif \in his larger/ work.

Sr I. lived at London euer since the year 1696 when he was made Warden of the Mint, no body ever lived with him but my wife who was with him near twenty years before & after her marriage – He always lived in a very handsome generous manner thou without ostentation or vanity, always hospitable & upon proper occasions gave splendid entertainments. He was generous <10r> & charitable without bounds, he used to say they who gaue \away/ nothing till they died never gaue, wch perhaps was the \one/ reason why he did not make a will – I beleive no man of his circumstances ever gave away so much during his life time in alms in encouraging ingenuity & learning & to his relations, nor upon all occasions shewed a greater contempt of his own mony or {sic} \a more scrupulous/ frugality of that wch belonged to the publick or to any society he was entrusted for, He refused pensions & additional employments that were offered him <10v> He \he/ was highly honoured & respected \by all foreigners & at home/ in all reigns & under all administrations even by those he opposed, for he in all \euery/ station {sic} he always shewed an inflexible attachment to the cause of liberty \& our present happy establishment./ — Their present Majestys always shewed him a particular honour & the Queen distinguishing \very particular/ marks of their favour & esteem parti & often ad did him the honour to admitt him to their Royal presence for hours together The Queen who shews so much favour & countenance to all learned men & entertains herself so often with discourses of \hearing arguments concerning matters of/ Philosophy & Divinity always expressed the \a/ great {sic} \frequently/ desired to see him, & always \expressed great/ satisfaction in his conversation & yet had the goodness in his later years to forbear laying her coands frequently upon him in consideration of his age She was graciously pleased to take a part in the disputes he was concerned \engaged/ in during his life & expressed a great regard for every thing that concerned his honour & memory after his <10vB> & was highly honoured & respected in all Reigns & under all administrations even by those he opposed, for in every station he shewed an inflexable attachment to the cause of liberty & our present happy establishmt

There {sic} present majtys always shewed him a very particular marks of their favour & esteem & often did him the honour to admitt him \to their royall presence/ for hours together. The Queen who shews so much favour & countenance to all learned men & entertains her self often with hearing argumts concerning matters of Philosophy & Devinity {sic}, frequently desired to see him and always expressed great satisfaction in his conversation, she was graciously pleased to take part in the disputes he was engaged in during his life & expressed a great reguard for every thing that concerned his honour & memory after his death <11r> \*/ death – I must not omitt telling you that I have often had the honour to hear her Majesty say to the \before be /{illeg}\ before the whole/ circle that she kept the abstract of Chronology Sr Isaac gave her \written/ in his own hand among her choicest treasures, & that she thought it a happiness to have lived at the same time & have known so great a man — I conjure you, Sr, to insert this in yo the Eloge because I am perswaded you can say nothing that will do him more honour than the applause such a coendation from a Queen who is the Minerva of her age


an innate modesty & simplicity appeared in all his words & actions

Notwithstanding the extraordinary honours that were paid him he \was so n/ had so humble & an opinion of himself that he was sometimes took the applause \had no relish of the applause/ wch was so deservedly paid in a quite different sense from what it was intended \him/ & \he was/ so little vain & desirous of glory from any of his works that \as it is well known/ he would counicate \have/ lett others \haue/ run away with the glory of those hon inventions which have done so much honour to humane nature if his friends & country men had not been more jealous \than he/ of his & their glory than he |was of his own|


He was exceedingly courteous & affable even to the lowest & never despised any man for want of capacity but always expressed \shewed \expressed freely// his resentment {sic} against any immorality or contempt of religion He was a \impiety —–/ |He \had/ not only \shewed/ a great & constant regard to religion in general as well by an exemplary course of life as in all his writings but| /was also a\ firm beleiver of revealed religion wch appears by the many volumes \papers/ he has left on that subject as well as by the exemplariness of his life, but his opinion \notion/ of the Xtian religion was not founded on a narrow bottom, nor his charity & morality so scanty as to shew a coldness to those of another opinion |who were of other sentiments| |who thought otherwise than he did| in matters indifferent, much less \to/ admitt of persecution of wch he always shewed \expressed/ the strongest abhorrence & detestation —


He had such a meekness & sweetness of temper that a melancholy story would often fetch \draw/ tears from him & he was would shudder \was exceedingly shocked/ at any act of cruelty to man or beast, mercy to both being the darling topick he loved to dwell upon —

An innate modesty & simplicity shewed it self in all his actions & expressions, & his whole life was one continued series of labour patience charity generosity temperance piety goodness & all other virtues without {sic} mixture of \any/ vice from wch he was pure & unspotted in thought word & deed \whatsoever/

He was never married,\./ sober & \He was very/ temperate in his diet but never observed any regimen he was blessed with a very happy & vigorous constitution, he was short of a \middle/ stature & in \plump/ \in/ his later years inclining to be fat, had a very \lively &/ peircing eye & a countenan \comely \&/ gracious/ aspect <13v> had a fine head of hair \as white as silver {sic} some of \without any baldness /&\// he would often appear from under his wig \& when his periwig was off was a venerable sight/, & to his last illness had the bloom & colour of a young man & never used spectacles nor lost but one \any more than one/ tooth to the day of his death

About five years before he died he was troubled with an incontinence of urine \& sometimes with a stillicidium both ✝|✝ wch continued upon him more or less according to the motion he used|/ upon wch he left off \after whi /upon which he put down\/ his chariot & went always in a chair & left off dining abroad or with much company at home & ea \eat little flesh &/ lived more upon \cheifly upon/ broth & vegetables than meat flesh & fruit wch he always eat very heartily of — At In the |in August 1724 he voided without any pain a stone about the bigness of a pea wch came away in two pieces one at some days distance from the other|

In Ianry 1724/5 he had a violent cough |& inflammation of the Lungs| upon wch he was with much ado perswaded to take a lodging \house/ at Kensington \by wch he found great benefit/ where soon after his moving there he |where he had in his| 84th year a fit of the he had in his            a fit of the the gout <14r> gout {sic} for the second time having {sic} had a slight attack of it a few years before, after wch he was visibly better than he had been some years the {sic} benefit he found from that air \at Kensington/ induced him to keep the lodging \house/ till he died –

In the winter 1725 he being disabled from \he was very desirous/ to resign \to me/ his employment to me \of Master of the Mint/ his wch /an employt of\ his indisposition disabling him from officiating \himself/ & his old deputy being confined by a dropsy. I being satisfied how uneasie \unwilling/ he would be to venture a so great a trust of that consequence & nicety with any stranger, & how prejudicial all motion was to him offered to act \transact the whole business/ for him wch I <14v> & for about \above/ a year before he died I made him so easy on that subject that he hardly ever went to the Tower \Mint/, but thou he found the greatest benefit from rest & the air at Kensington \& was visibly worse always by going to town \the worse for leaving it// there no methods that were used could keep him from coming to town \from coming sometimes to town/ without any real call –

On Tuesday the last day of Feb.ry 17267 he came to town in order to go to a meeting at the Royal Society, on the \next/ day after I was with him & thought I had not seen him better in many years & he was sensible of it himself & told me smiling that he had slept the Sunday before from 11 at night till 8 in the morning without waking, but his great fatigue <15r> in going to the Society & making vis & receiving visits brought his old complaint violently upon him, he returned to Kensington on the Saturday following, as soon as I heard of his illness I carried Dr Mead & Mr Cheselden to him, who immediately said it was the stone in the bladder & gave little \no/ hopes of his recovery, the stone was probably moved from the place where it lay quiet by the great motion & fatigue of his last journey to London from wch time he had violent fits of pain, with very short intermissions & thou the drops of sweat ran down from his face with anguish he would hardly \never complained/ \or/ cry'd out \or shewed the least signs of \peevishness or/ impatience/ and would during the short intervals from that violent torture would <15v> smile & talk with his usual chearfulness more patience was never shewn by any mortal – On Wednesday the 15th of March he gave s \he seemed a little better &/ wee conceived some hopes of his recovery, but without grounds for he grew worse & weaker with the vi on Saturday morning the 18th he read al the news papers & held a pretty long discourse with Dr Mead & had \all/ his senses perfect but that evening at six & all Sunday he was insensible & died on Monday the 20th of March between one & two in the morning. His death seemed to be untimely the effect of the stone in his bladder |He seemed to have stamina vitæ vitæ (except the accidental distemper of the stone) to have carried him to a much longer age \& to the last/ had all his senses & faculties strong & vigorous & lively to the last for last, & continued writing & studying many hours every day to the time of his last illness –|

I here enclose the account given in the Gazette of the his funeral, & burial \(wch pray translate)/, & shall only add that the Dean & relations who inherit his personal estate have agreed to lay out £500 in a monument & the Dean <16r> & chapter \of Westminster have/ permitted hi a tomb to be erected in the most conspicuous part of the Abbey a place wch they had \often/ refused the greatest noblemen. —

Besides his land he died worth about £32,000 w personal estate wch is divided between \his/ 4 nephews & 4 nieces \of the half blood/ the {sic} land wch he had from his father & mother went to his heir of the whole blood who is his 4th Cousin \Iohn Newton whose \grea/ great Grandfather was Sr Isaac's uncle/ he gave before \a little before/ he died he gave away an estate in Berkshire to the sons & daughter of my wife's brother who by the death of their father's dying before Sr Isaac came had no share of the personal estate, & an estate he bought at Kensington of about the same value to my little daughter as a mar


Memoirs relating to Sr Isaac Newton sent by me to Monr Fontenelle in Oct.r 1727.

© 2017 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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