Receiving yrs return as perfect & as faithful Account of my deceased friend's Transactions as possibly does at this Time occur to my memory Had I had ye least Thought of gratifying after this manner, Sr. Is's ffriend, I should have taken a much stricker {sic} view of his Life & Actions.

In ye last year of K. Charles 2d. Sr Isaac was pleas'd through ye Mediation of Dr. Walker (then Schoolmaster at Grantham) to send for me up to Cambridge, of whom I had the opportunity as well {sic} Honr. to wait of, for about 5 years, in wch time he wrote his Principia Mathematica, wch stupendous work, by his order, I copied out, before it went to ye Press. After ye Printing Sr. Is. was pleas'd to send me wth several of Them, as Presents, to some of ye Heads of Colledges, & others of his Acquaintance, some of wch. (particularly Dr. Babington of Trinity) \said/ That They might study seven years, before They understood any thing of it. His carriage then was very meek, sedate & humble, never seemingly angry, of profound Thoughts, his Countenance mild, pleasant & Comely; I cannot say, I ever saw him laugh, but once, wch. was at yt Passage, wch. Dr. Stewkley mentioned in his Letter, to yr. Honr: wch: put me in mind of ye Ephesian Phylosopher, who laugh'd only once in his Life Time, to see an Ass, eating Thistles, when Plenty of Grass was by. He always kept Close to his Studyes, very rarely went a visiting, & had as few Visitors, excepting 2 or 3 Persons, Mr. Ellis of Keys, Mr. Lougham of Trinity, & Mr. Vigani, a Chymist, <2> in whose Company he took much Delight and Pleasure at an Evening, when he came to wait upon Him. I never knew him take any Recreation or Pastime, either in Riding out to take ye Air, Walking, bowling, or any other Exercise whatever, Thinking all Hours lost, yt was not spent in his Studyes, to wch. he kept so close, yt he seldom left his Chamber unless at Term Time, when he read in ye Schools, as being Lucasianus Professor, where so few went to hear Him, & fewer yt understood him, yt oftimes he did in a manner, for want of Hearers, read to ye Walls. fforeigners He received wth. a great \deal/ of ffreedom; Candour, & Respect. When invited to a Treat, wch. was very seldom us'd to return it very handsomely, freely, & wth. much satisfaction to Himself. So intent, so serious upon his Studies, yt he eat very sparingly, nay, oftimes he has forget to eat at all, so yt going into his Chamber, I have found his Mess untouch'd, of wch: when I have reminded him, would reply, Have I; & then making to ye Table, would eat a bit or two standing, for I cannot say, I ever saw Him \sit/ at \Table/ by himself, At some {se{illeg}|ld|om} Entertainmts ye Masters of Colledges were chiefly his Guests. He very rarely went to Bed, till 2 or 3 of ye clock, sometimes not till 5 or 6, lying about 4 or 5 hours, especially at spring & ffall of ye Leaf, at wch. Times he us'd to imploy about 6 weeks in his Elaboratory, the ffire scarcely going out either Night or Day, he siting up one Night, as I did another till he had finished his Chymical Experiments, in ye Performances of wch. he was ye most accurate, strict, exact: What his Aim might be, I was not able to penetrate into but his Paine, his Diligence <3> at those sett times, made me think, he aim'd at somthing beyond ye Reach of humane Art & Industry. I cannot say, I ever saw him drink, either wine Ale or Bear, excepting Meals, & then but very sparingly. He very rarely went to Dine in ye Hall unless upon some Publick Dayes, & then if He has not been minded, would go very carelessly, wth shoes down at Heels, stockins unty'd, surplice on, & his Head scarcely comb'd. As for his Opticks As for his Opticks being burnt, I know Nothing of it, but as I had heard from Others, That Accident happening before he writ his Princip. He was very Curious in his Garden, wch. was never out of Order, in wch. he would, at some seldom Times, take a short Walk or two, not enduring to see a weed in it; On ye left end of ye Garden, was his Elaboratory, near ye East end of ye Chappell, where hi|e|s, at these sett Times, employ'd himself in, with a great deal of satisfaction & Delight. Nothing extraordinary, as I can Remember, happen'd in making his Experiments, wch. if there did, He was of so sedate & even Temper, yt I could not in ye least discern it. He very seldom went to ye Chappel, yt being ye Time he chiefly took his Repose; And as for for ye Afternoons, his earnest & indefatigable Studyes retain'd Him, so yt He scarcely \knewe/ ye Hour of Prayer. Very frequently on Sundays he went to St. Mary's Church, especially in ye fore Noons. I know Nothing of ye Writings, wch: yr Honr sent, only yt it is his own Hand, I am very certain of, believing he might write Them at some leasure Hours, before he sett upon his more serious & weighty Matters. Sr Is. at yt Time had no Pupills, nor any Chamber ffellow, for yt would I presume to think, would not in ye least have <4> been agreeable to his Studies. He was only once disorder'd with pains at ye stomach, wch. confin'd Him for some days to his Bed, wch he bare with a great deal of Patience & Magnanimity, seemingly indifferent either to live or dye. He seeing me much Concern'd at his Illness, bid me not trouble my self, for if, said he, I dye, I shall leave you an Estate, wch he then mention'd.

Sr this is wt. I can at ꝑsent recollect, hoping it may in some Measure satisfy yr. Quæries.

My wife at this Time is brought to Bed of a son, whom I intent to Nominate after my dear deceased ffriend, would you please to honour me so far, as to substitute Dr. Stewkly to stand as witness, I should take it as a very singular ffavour, & would very much

oblige, Sr, yr. most humb

& obedient Servt.

Humphrey Newton

Ian.17. –278



I return yr Honr. a great many Thanks for ye ffavour you have done me, in deputing Dr: Stewkley to stand in yr. stead, as witness to my son. It is out of my Sphere to make any grateful Return, therefore doubt not but Yr. Goodness, will in yt Point, excuse my Deficiency.

I have bethought my self about Sr. Isaac|'s| Life, as much as possibly I can.

About 6 weeks at Spring & 6 at ye ffall ye fire in ye Elaboratory scarcely went out, wch was well furnished with \chymical/ Materials, as Bodyes, Receivers, ffends, Crucibles &c, wch. was made very little use \of/, ye Crucibles excepted, in wch. he {fused} his Metals: He would sometimes, thô very seldom,) look into an old mouldy Book, wch. lay in his Elaboratory, I think it was titled, – Agricola de Metallis, The transmuting of Metals, being his Chief Design, for wch: Purpose Antimony was a great Ingredient. Near his Elaboratory was his Garden, wch. was kept in Order by a Gardiner I scarely {sic} ever saw him do any thing (as pruning \&c/) at it him\self./ When he has sometimes taken a Turn or two, has made a sudden stand, turn'd himself about, run up ye stairs, like another Alchimedes {sic}, with an Εὔρηκα, fall to write on his Desk standing, without giving himself the Leasure to draw a Chair to sit down in.

At some seldom Times when he design'd to dine in ye Hall, would turn to ye left hand, & go out into ye street, where making a stop, when he found his Mistake, would hastily turn back, & then sometimes instead of going into ye Hall, would return to his Chamber again.


When he read in ye Schools, he usually staid about half an hour, when he had no Auditrs he Com̄only return'd in a 4th part of that {illeg}|time| or less. Mr Laughton, who was then ye Library Keeper of Trin. Coll. resorted much to his Chamber, if he com̄enc'd Dr: after yt, I know not.

His Telescope, wch. was at yt Time, as near as I could guess, not near \was {sic} near/ 5 foot long, wch. he plac'd at ye head of ye stairs, going down into ye Garden, buting towards ye East, what Observations he might make, I know not, but several of his Observations about Comets & ye Planets may be found scatter'd here & there in a Book intitled, The Elemts. of Astronomy, by Dr. David Gregory. He would with great acutness answer a Question, but would very seldom start one. Dr: Boerhaave (I think it is) Prof. Lips. in some of his writings, speaking of Sr. Is. That man, says he, Comprehends as much as all mankind besides.

In his Chamber he walk'd |so| very much, yt you might have thought him to be educated at Athens among ye Aristotelian sects. His Brick ffurnaces ꝑ re natâ, he made & alter'd himself, wthout troubling a Brick-layer. He very seldom sat by ye ffire in his Chamber, excepting yt long frosty winter, wch. made him creep to it against his will.

I can't say, I ever saw him wear a Night-Gown, but his wearing Cloathes, that he put off at Night, at Night, do I say, yea rather towards ye Morning, he put on again at his Rising. He never slept in ye Day Time, yt I ever perceived. I believd|e| he grudg'd yt short Time he spent in eating & sleeping. Ἀνέχου καὶ ᾽χπὲχου may very well be & truly be said of him, he always <7> thinking wth. Bishop Sanderson, Temperance to be ye best Physick. In a Morning he seem'd to be as much refresh'd with his few hours sleep, as though he had taken a whole Night's rest. He kept neither Dog nor Cat in his Chamber, wch: made well for ye old woman, his Bed-maker, she faring much ye better for it, for in a Morning, she has sometimes found both Dinner & Supper scarcely tasted of, wch. ye old woman has very pleasantly & mumpingly gone away with. As for his private Prayers, I can say nothing of them, I am apt to believe his intense Studying depriv'd him of ye better Part. His Behaviour was mild & meek, without Anger, Peevishness or Passion, so free from yt, That you might take him for a Stoick. I have seen a smal pasteboard Box in his study set against ye open window, no less as one might suppose, then a 1000 Guin. in it crowded Edgewayes, whether this was suspit|c|ion or Carlesness {sic} I cannot say, perhaps to try ye ffidelity of those about him. In Winter Time, he was a Lover of Apples, & sometimes at a Night would eat a smal roasted Quince. His thoughts were his Books, thô he had a large study, seldom Consulted with them. When he was about 30 years of Age, his gray Hairs was very Comely, & his smiling Countenance made him so much ye more graceful. He was very Charitable, few went empty handed from \him./ Mr. Pilkinton, who liv'd at Market-Orton, died in a mean Condition (thô formerly he had a plentiful Estate) whose Wid with 5 or 6 Children Sr. Is. maintain'd several years together. He com̄only gave his poor Relations (for no ffamilies so rich, but there is some Poor among them) when they apply'd themselves to him, no less then 5. Guineas <8> as they themselves have told me. He has given ye Porter many a Shilling, not for leting him at ye Gates at unseasonable Hours, for yt he abhor'd, never knowing him \out/ of his Chamber at such Times. No way litigious, not giving|en| to Law or vexatious suits, taking Patience to be ye best Law, & a good Conscience ye best Divinity.

Says Seneca, some Body will demonstrate, wch. way Comets wander, why they go so far from ye rest of ye Celestial Bodies, how big, & what sort of Bodies they are, wch. had he lived been Contemporary wth. Sr. Is. he might have seen this Prophecy \of his/ fulfill'd by yt wonder of his Age.

Could Yr. Honr. pick some things out of this indigested Mass, worthy to be inserted into ye Life of so great, so good, & so illustrious a Person, as Sr. Isaac Newton! it would be of infinite Satisfaction to him, Sr.

who is Yr. Honrs. most

humb & most obedient


H: Newton

ffeb: 17. 17278

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