Newton had a favourite little dog called "Diamond." One winter's morning, while attending early service, he inadvertently left his dog shut up in his room; on returning from chapel, he found that the animal, by upsetting a taper on his desk, had set fire to the papers on which he had written down his experiments; and thus he saw before him the labours of so many years reduced to ashes. It is said, that on first perceiving this great loss, he contented himself by exclaiming, "Oh, Diamond! Diamond! thou little knowest the mischief thou hast done." But the grief caused by this circumstance, grief which reflection must have augmented, instead of alleviating, injured his health, and, if we may venture to say so, for some time impaired his understanding. This incident in Newton's life, which appears to be confirmed by many collateral circumstances, is mentioned in a manuscript note of Huygens, which was communicated to M. Biot, of the French Institute, by Mr. Vanswinden, in the following letter: —

© 2019 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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