Catalogue Entry: OTHE00014

Chapter I

Author: David Brewster

Source: Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, vol. 1 (Edinburgh: 1855).

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]

[1] The Marquis La Place. See his Exposition du Système du Monde, Livre 5me, chap. vi. p. 336.


The issue of this marriage was a son and two daughters, — Benjamin, Mary, and Hannah Smith, from whom were descended the four nephews and nieces who inherited Sir Isaac's personal estate.

The following account from Conduit's MSS. of Mrs. Newton's marriage to Mr. Smith, was given to Mr. Conduit "by Mrs. Hutton, whose maiden name was Ayscough:" —

"Mr. Smith, a neighboring clergyman, who had a very good estate, had lived a bachelor till he was pretty old, and one of his parishioners advising him to marry, he said he did not know where to meet with a good wife. The man answered, the widow Newton is an extraordinary good woman. But, saith Mr. Smith, how do I know she will have me, and I don't care to ask and be denied; but if you will go and ask her, I will pay you for your day's work. He went accordingly. Her answer was, she would be advised by her brother Ayscough. Upon which Mr. Smith sent the same person to Mr. Ayscough on the same errand, who, upon consulting with his sister, treated with Mr. Smith, who gave her son Isaac a parcel of land, being one of the terms insisted upon by the widow if she married him." This parcel of land was given by Mrs. Smith, and was probably her property of Sewstern. — See the Annual Register 1776, Characters, p. 25.

[3] It is a curious fact that Leibnitz, the rival of Newton, had laboured at similar inventions. In a letter written to Sir Isaac from Hanover, about a month after Leibnitz's death, on the 14th November 1716, the writer informs him that Leibnitz had laboured all his life to invent machines, which had never succeeded, and that he was particularly desirous of constructing a wind-mill for mines, and a carriage to be moved without horses. Fontenelle, in his Eloge on Leibnitz, mentions these two inventions in different terms. He had bestowed, says he, much time and labour upon his wind-mill for draining the water from the deepest mines, but was thwarted in its execution by certain workmen who had opposite interests. In the matter of carriages, his object was merely to render them lighter and more commodious; but a doctor, who believed that Leibnitz had prevented him from getting a pension from the King of Hanover, stated in some printed work, that he had contemplated the invention of a carriage which would perform the journey from Hanover to Amsterdam in twenty four hours. — Mém. Acad. Par. 1718. Hist. p. 115.

[4] One of these dials was taken down in 1844, along with the stone on which it was cut, by Mr. Turnor of Stoke Rochford, and presented by his uncle, the Rev. <12note> Charles Turnor, to the Museum of the Royal Society. The dial was traced on a large stone in the south wall, at the angle of the building, and about six feet from the ground. The name NEWTON, with the exception of the first two letters, which have been obliterated, may be seen under the dial in rude and capital letters. The other dial is smaller than this, but not in good preservation. The gnomons of these dials have unfortunately disappeared. In the woodcut representing the Manor-house of Woolsthorpe, the birth-place of Sir Isaac, are shown the places on the wall where the dials were traced. — See Phil. Trans. 1845, pp. 141, 142.

[5] Mrs. Hutton mentioned to Mr. Conduitt that this was the profession to which Newton was to be brought up.

[6] MSS. of Conduit among the family papers.


Mr. Conduit, in his MSS. notes, mentions two of these memorandum books in the following manner: — "I find in a paper book of his to which he has put his name, and 1659, — Rules for drawing and making colours;" and in another of the same year, "Prosodia written out." The first of these books I did not find among the family papers; but the second is the one referred to in the text. The following is its title: —

Quisquis in hunc librum

Teneros conjecit ocellos,

Nomen subscriptum perle-

gat ipse meum.

Isaac Newton,

Martii 19, 1659.

On the second page is the title Utilissimum Prosodiæ Supplementum, which terminates on the 33d page with the date March 26, and is followed by an Appendix of three pages.

At the end of the book there is a list of his expenses, entitled Impensa propria, occupying fourteen pages. On the 4th page the expenses are summed up thus

Totum,£356 Habui,400 ——— Habeo.0146

On the 5th page there are fourteen loans of money, extended thus:

Lent Agatha,£0111 Lent Gooch,100

and he then adds at the bottom of the page, lent out 13 shillings more than £4.

<18note> Among the entries areChessemen and dial,£014 Effigies amoris,010 Do.0010

and on the last page are entered seven loans, amounting to £3, 2s. 6d. There is likewise an entry of "Income from a glasse and other things to my chamber-fellow, £0 0 9." Another page is entitled

OTIOSE ET FRUSTRA EXPENSA. Supersedeas.Sherbet and reaskes. China ale.Beere. Cherries.Cake. Tart.Bread. Bottled beere.Milk. Marmelot.Butter. Custards.Cheese.

[8] MSS. of Conduit among the family papers.

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