Catalogue Entry: OTHE00080

Chapter XIX

Author: David Brewster

Source: Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, vol. 2 (Edinburgh: 1855).

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]


See Vol. I. APPENDIX, p. 455.


November 26th. See Edleston's Correspondence, &c. lxviii, note 126, and p. 302, Appendix.


The date of this letter should have been 16956.


Mr. Lawton, or Laughton, was a great personal friend of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Montague. He was afterwards Librarian and Chaplain of Trinity. He subsequently became Canon of Worcester and Lichfield, and gave to the Library of Trinity College a valuable collection of books. See p. 92, and Monk's Life of Bentley, pp. 226, 246.

[5] Copied from the original.


Mr. Hoare was Comptroller of the Mint.


He was elected on the 30th of November 1695, and resigned at the same date in 1699.


Conduitt's MSS.


Among Newton's papers, I found the following list of his securities, which, I presume, must be those which were required when he was elevated to the Mastership of the Mint: —

Mr. Newton,£2000 Rt. Honble Charles Montague,1000 And Bondsmen, Thomas Hall, Esq.,1000 — — Flayer, Esq.,1000 Thos. Pilkington, gent.,1000 £6000


Conduitt's MSS. Dr. Arbuthnot's work was published in 4to, in 1727, under the title of Tables of Ancient Coins, Weights, and Measures, Explained and Exemplified in several Dissertations. It was reprinted in 1754, with observations by Dr. Benjamin Langworth.


This letter, dated Upminster, 18th July 1733, was written when Mr. Conduitt requested information regarding Newton from Dr. Derham, who had been intimately acquainted with him for about thirty years.


Letter to Molyneux, August 25, 1697.


August 2, 1697.


Letter to Newton, dated December 30, 1697.


These facts are gleaned from four unpublished letters to Newton, and three to Molyneux.


February 1697.


Macclesfield Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 420


Halley was one of the most distinguished and accomplished philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. On the death of Dr. Wallis, in 1703, he was <197> appointed Savilian Professor of Geometry in Oxford. In 1703, he was chosen Secretary to the Royal Society, and, in 1719, in the sixty-third year of his age, he succeeded Flamsteed as Astronomer-Royal. In 1729, he was elected a corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, and he died on the 14th January 1712, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. In his Eloge upon Halley, M. Mairan thus speaks of him: — "While we thought the eulogium of an astronomer, a naturalist, a scholar, and a philosopher, comprehended our whole subject, we have been insensibly surprised with the history of an excellent mariner, an illustrious traveller, an able engineer, and almost a statesman." — Mém. Acad. Par. 1742.


The preceding statement is taken from a printed copy of the petition of Chaloner, with which Mr. Edleston has kindly favoured me. The affidavits of Holloway and Peers, annexed to the petition, are dated in November and December 1697.


Entitled, Guzmanus Redivivus. A Short View of the Life of William Chaloner, the Notorious Coyner, who was executed at Tyburn, on Wednesday, the 22d of March 16989, with a brief Account of his Tryal, Behaviour, and Last Speech. London: J. Haynes. 12mo, 1700; pp. 12.


Chaloner had been three times under prosecution before he petitioned the House of Commons. He was finally apprehended for forging Malt Tickets; but when tried for coining, he feigned madness to avoid pleading. He was however found guilty of high treason by "a cloud of witnesses," and executed, — abusing the Judge and the Jury, and declaring to the last that the witnesses, particularly Holloway, had perjured themselves.


In the Latin version of this passage, given hy Baily in p. 668, for similium read similia, for posteriore read posterum, for enarrare read qua in re; for cum [eorum?] read eum; and for censeas harum read consecuturum.


As this letter derives a peculiar interest, from its connexion with the remarkable letter of Newton of January 6th, which has been the subject of so much discussion, we have printed it in the APPENDIX, No. XIV.


See Baily 's Flamsteed, p. 164.


Flamsteed answered Newton's letter on the 10th of January, in a very contrite spirit, and sent him the paragraph as altered by Wallis.


Baily's Flamsteed, pp. 174, 175.


The Treaty of Ryswick was signed in 1697.


I have given this anecdote in the words of Conduitt, which cannot be correct. James Cassini, the younger, paid a visit to London in the early part of 1698, as appears from the following short note, in which he communicates from his father the periodic times of the five satellites of Saturn, slightly different from those published in the 2d Edit, of the Principia, p. 960.

"Clarissimo viro Domino Isak Newton, Jacobus Cassini. S.P.D.

"Cum e Londino reversurus in Galliam huc pervenissem, accepi a patre meo epistolam una cum maximis satellitum Saturni digressionibus quas a me expostulaveras. Has tibi mandare et gratitudinem meam tuorum erga me beneficiorum simul exhibere mihi liceat. Tuam domum adivi ut te inviserein, sed mala usus fortuna cum nunc abfuisses. Vale vir clarissime, et sic habeas me tibi semper esse addictissimum. Dover, Aprilis, 1698. St. N."


The eight foreign Associates created on this occasion were —

1. Leibnitz.} 2. Guglielmini.} 3. Hartsoecker.}February 4. 4. Tschirnhausen.} 5. James Bernoulli.} 6. John Bernoulli.}February 14. 7. Newton.} 8. Roemer.}February 21.

Newton and Roemer, and the two Bernoullis, were nominated by the Academy, and the other four by the King. — Edleston's Correspondence, &c., p. lxix.


Mr. Weld has published this letter from the Letter-Book of the Royal Society, "as marking the different manner in which the great learned societies of England and France were treated by their respective sovereigns. In the latter country, science was thus early fostered and rewarded, while in England the Royal Society was left to struggle with poverty." — History of the Royal Society, vol. i pp. 355, 366. See vol. i. p. 100, &c.


Mr. Hammond was the opponent of Newton on this occasion. The votes stood thus —

Mr. Henry Boyle,180Mr. Newton,161Mr. Hammond,64


Monk's Life of Bentley, p. 122.


The two persons who had the honour of being knighted along with Sir Isaac were Sir John Ellis, Master of Caius College and Vice-chancellor, and Sir James Montague, the University Counsel, afterwards Lord Chief Baron. Sir James, who was of Trinity College, was a younger brother of Lord Halifax, and, along with others, received on this occasion the degree of LL.D. At the same time the celebrated Dr. Arbuthnot, physician to the Queen, received the degree of M.D.


This letter, which had on the back of it calculations about the Mint, is bound up near the beginning of the second volume of the large folio volumes containing papers about the Mint.


See Bruce's' Annals of the Honourable East India Company, vol. iii. pp. 261, 461, 472, &c.


Fontenelle's Eloge of Leibnitz, Mém. Acad. Par. 1718, p. 126.


There is no address on this letter, of which I have found two rough copies


This appears also from a letter of Flamsteed's written on the 5th April 1705, the day of the dissolution, in which he wishes Newton "good success in his affairs, health, and a happy return." — Baily's Flamsteed, p. 238. This letter (marked "not sent as he returned too soon") is given by Baily as probably addressed to Mr. Hodgson; but as Mr. Edleston first suggested, it was to Newton. — Correspondence, &c., p. lxxiii, note 151.


This letter is among the MSS. of Newton, in the possession of the Rev. Jeffrey Ekins, who kindly communicated it to me. It was probably written shortly before his visit to Cambridge in March.


Cobbett's Parliamentary History, vol. vi. p. 496. Flamsteed thought Newton's success doubtful, "by reason he put in too late." — Baily's Flamsteed, p. 239.


The following was the state of the poll: — Hon. Arthur Annesley,(Magd.,)182 Hon. Dixie Windsor,(Trinity,)170 Hon. Fra. Godolphin,(King's,)162 Sir Isaac Newton,(Trinity,)117

Dr. Bentley voted for Sir Isaac. — Edleston's Correspond., &c., p. lxxiv., note 153.

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