Biographical Materials about Newton (1700-1799)

Sorted by date

1.

Suppressed preface to the Historia cœlestis britannica

Author: John Flamsteed

Source: RGO Ms. 1/32C, ff. 74-93, Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: OTHE00033

2.

Account of Newton's life before going to university

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.02, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00165

3.

Draft account of Newton's life at Cambridge

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.04, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00167

4.

Notes on Newton's suitability for canonisation if not deification

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.14, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00176

5.

Rough draft preface for the Life of Newton

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.17, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00179

6.

Account of a conversation between Newton and Conduitt

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.11, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00173

7.

Note on Newton's 'unpromising' infancy and (deleted) eulogy of Alexander Pope

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.16, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00178

8.

Notes on Newton's care for his mother

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.08, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00170

9.

Extracts from Newton's notebooks

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.12, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00174

10.

Eye-witness account of Newton's death

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.15, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00177

11.

Fair copy of the Memoir of Newton

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 129.01, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00145

12.

Account of Newton's manual dexterity

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.09, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00171

13.

Notes on Newton's dispute with Robert Hooke

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.13, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00175

14.

Anecdotes about Newton from various sources

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.10, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00172

15.

Drafts of various sections of the Memoir of Newton

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 129.02, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00146

16.

Notes on Newton's character

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.07, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00169

17.

Four draft plans for 'An Account of the State of Philosophy in general when Sr Isaac Newton first appeared'

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.01, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00164

18.

Draft account of Newton's early life

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 130.03, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00166

19.

Letter from Thomas Mason (rector of Colsterworth) to John Conduitt

Author: Thomas Mason

Source: Keynes Ms. 134, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00032

20.

Three drafts of a letter from John Conduitt to Bernard de Fontenelle offering him Conduitt's Memoir of Newton, and draft of a letter from Conduitt to Horace Walpole

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 129.04, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00148

21.

Letter from Bernard de Fontenelle to John Conduitt, dated 14 April 1727 (new style)

Author: Bernard de Fontenelle

Source: Keynes Ms. 129.05, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00149

22.

French translation of Conduitt's memoir and of the report of Newton's funeral from the London Gazette

Author: John Conduitt

Source: Keynes Ms. 129.03, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00147

23.

Account of Newton's funeral from "The London Gazette", No. 6569

Author: Unknown

Source: Keynes Ms. 129.12, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: OTHE00002

24.

Letter from John Craig to unidentified recipient, dated 7 April 1727

Author: John Craig

Source: Keynes Ms. 132, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: THEM00030

25.

Letter reacting to Newton's death, from "Mist's Weekly Journal", No. 103

Author: Unknown

Source: Keynes Ms. 129.13, King's College, Cambridge, UK

Newton Catalogue ID: OTHE00003

[1]

Ostensibly an account of the genesis of the book, but in fact largely given over to a bitter and highly personal attack by the former Astronomer Royal on Newton, who according to Flamsteed bullied him, interfered with his work, took his data by force and used it without acknowledgment.

[2] 22 pp.

[3]

in English

[4]

The last page of the document is bound out of sequence as f. 37, though it is clearly intended to follow f. 93.

[5] 36 pp.

[6] Draft account of Newton's early life [Keynes Ms. 130.03] Keynes Ms. 130 Four draft plans for 'An Account of the State of Philosophy in general when Sr Isaac Newton first appeared' [Keynes Ms. 130.01]

[7]

Conduitt had a habit of using underlining to highlight words and passages not for emphasis but because he was considering them for deletion or replacement. Often, alternative text is inserted above the underlined section or in the margin. In some cases the underlined text is indeed deleted, but in many it is not, probably because Conduitt was keeping his options open. This transcription records Conduitt's practice exactly, with the result that passages marked for possible deletion will appear (underlined) even in the normalised view and even if they disrupt the grammatical sense. Readers should bear in mind this special significance of the underlining.

[8] 16 pp.

[9] 'Miscellanea' (assorted notes and anecdotes concerning Newton) [Keynes Ms. 130.05] Keynes Ms. 130 Draft account of Newton's early life [Keynes Ms. 130.03]

[10]

Each page is divided into two columns: in most cases the right column is reserved for notes and additions and the main text is in the left column.

[11] 2 pp.

[12] Eye-witness account of Newton's death [Keynes Ms. 130.15] Keynes Ms. 130 Notes on Newton's dispute with Robert Hooke [Keynes Ms. 130.13]

[13] 4 pp.

[14] Keynes Ms. 130 Note on Newton's 'unpromising' infancy and (deleted) eulogy of Alexander Pope [Keynes Ms. 130.16]

[15] 2 pp.

[16] Extracts from Newton's notebooks [Keynes Ms. 130.12] Keynes Ms. 130 Anecdotes about Newton from various sources [Keynes Ms. 130.10]

[17]

Written on the same sheet as a draft or copy of a business letter from Conduitt to an unidentified addressee: the letter occupies most of the lower half of the second side and is at right angles to the other text. The last few lines of the memoir are written round the letter.

[18] 1 p.

[19] Rough draft preface for the Life of Newton [Keynes Ms. 130.17] Keynes Ms. 130 Eye-witness account of Newton's death [Keynes Ms. 130.15]

[20] 4 pp.

[21] Account of Newton's manual dexterity [Keynes Ms. 130.09] Keynes Ms. 130 Notes on Newton's character [Keynes Ms. 130.07]

[22] 2 pp.

[23] Notes on Newton's dispute with Robert Hooke [Keynes Ms. 130.13] Keynes Ms. 130 Account of a conversation between Newton and Conduitt [Keynes Ms. 130.11]

[24] 2 pp.

[25] Note on Newton's 'unpromising' infancy and (deleted) eulogy of Alexander Pope [Keynes Ms. 130.16] Keynes Ms. 130 Notes on Newton's suitability for canonisation if not deification [Keynes Ms. 130.14]

[26] 31 pp.

[27]

in English

[28] Drafts of various sections of the Memoir of Newton [Keynes Ms. 129.02] Keynes Ms. 129

[29]

A revised version of f. 10v, in Catherine Conduitt's hand and here designated 10vB, is pinned onto the original f. 10v.

[30] 8 pp.

[31] Anecdotes about Newton from various sources [Keynes Ms. 130.10] Keynes Ms. 130 Notes on Newton's care for his mother [Keynes Ms. 130.08]

[32] 4 pp.

[33] Notes on Newton's suitability for canonisation if not deification [Keynes Ms. 130.14] Keynes Ms. 130 Extracts from Newton's notebooks [Keynes Ms. 130.12]

[34] 8 pp.

[35] Account of a conversation between Newton and Conduitt [Keynes Ms. 130.11] Keynes Ms. 130 Account of Newton's manual dexterity [Keynes Ms. 130.09]

[36] 20 pp.

[37]

in English

[38] French translation of Conduitt's memoir and of the report of Newton's funeral from the London Gazette [Keynes Ms. 129.03] Keynes Ms. 129 Fair copy of the Memoir of Newton [Keynes Ms. 129.01]

[39] 18 pp.

[40] Notes on Newton's care for his mother [Keynes Ms. 130.08] Keynes Ms. 130

[41]

Many pages are slightly torn down one side: where possible, text has been supplied that seems to match the sense, but it should be stressed that these readings are purely conjectural.

[42] 8 pp.

[43] Account of Newton's life before going to university [Keynes Ms. 130.02] Keynes Ms. 130

[44] 43 pp.

[45] Draft account of Newton's life at Cambridge [Keynes Ms. 130.04] Keynes Ms. 130 Account of Newton's life before going to university [Keynes Ms. 130.02]

[46]

Several minor additions and emendations, together with the whole of f. 2v, are in Catherine Conduitt's hand and in pencil.

[47]

Thomas Mason was, at the time of writing, rector of Colsterworth, the village where Newton had been born. Laments Newton's death and supplies some information about his early years.

[48] 2 pp.

[49]

in English

[50] 5 pp.

[51]

in French

[52] Letter from Bernard de Fontenelle to John Conduitt, dated 14 April 1727 (new style) [Keynes Ms. 129.05] Keynes Ms. 129 French translation of Conduitt's memoir and of the report of Newton's funeral from the London Gazette [Keynes Ms. 129.03]

[53] 3 pp.

[54]

in French

[55] Draft letter from John Conduitt to Bernard de Fontenelle, c. 21 July 1727 [Keynes Ms. 129.06] Keynes Ms. 129 Three drafts of a letter from John Conduitt to Bernard de Fontenelle offering him Conduitt's Memoir of Newton, and draft of a letter from Conduitt to Horace Walpole [Keynes Ms. 129.04]

[56] 27 pp.

[57]

in French

[58] Three drafts of a letter from John Conduitt to Bernard de Fontenelle offering him Conduitt's Memoir of Newton, and draft of a letter from Conduitt to Horace Walpole [Keynes Ms. 129.04] Keynes Ms. 129 Drafts of various sections of the Memoir of Newton [Keynes Ms. 129.02]

[59]

From The London Gazette No. 6,569

[60] 1p.

[61]

in English

[62] Letter reacting to Newton's death, from "Mist's Weekly Journal", No. 103 [Keynes Ms. 129.13] Keynes Ms. 129 Draft letter from John Conduitt to Bernard Fontenelle, dated 1 January 1727/8 [Keynes Ms. 129.11]

[63]

In an unidentified hand.

[64]

Summarises Newton's discoveries and achievements and particularly stresses his devotion to religion.

[65] 3 pp.

[66]

in English

[67]

Published in Mist's Weekly Journal No. 103.

[68] 2 pp.

[69]

in English

[70] 'Plan of Education, for a young Prince' (part 1), from "Fog's Weekly Journal", No. 195 [Keynes Ms. 129.14] Keynes Ms. 129 Account of Newton's funeral from "The London Gazette", No. 6569 [Keynes Ms. 129.12]

© 2021 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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