Catalogue Entry: ALCH00057

Two unrelated tracts in the same hand (not Newton's)

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Keynes Ms. 91, King's College, Cambridge, UK

[Normalized Text (at Chymistry of Isaac Newton)]

Custodial History

The remainder of SL28 is in Babson Mss. 433 and 725 and Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston Medical Library B MS c 41 c). The complete lot was bought at the Sotheby sale by Maggs Brothers for £17. Keynes must have taken it on approval but returned it on 19 August 1936. It was subsequently split into four (following a division suggested by Keynes in a note accompanying the returned manuscript). Parts 3 and 4 appeared as Items 161 and 162 in Catalogue 3 (1943) of the London bookseller E. Weil: this part (part 4) was bought by Keynes for £4 on 9 December 1943 (seemingly his last purchase of an alchemical manuscript).

Sotheby Lot

Part of SL28


The first tract, which has three lines added by Newton, begins 'The Pondus in Dissecting the Subject Matter'. The second and more substantial, entitled 'Experim[ent] the 4th. Being the Coralary of all ye former, Containing a true Process of the whole Worke', concerns how to 'Continue ye Hunting of ye Green Lyon'.

The second tract is identified by Figala and Petzold ('Alchemy in the Newtonian circle', 180, 187-8) as a variant fragment of the 'Processus mysterii magni philosophicus' of William Yworth: cf. Keynes Mss. 65 and 66, Yale Mellon Ms. 80, and Hampshire Record Office Ms. NC17.

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Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL -

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