Little books —

N.o 1.

Herodotus says they shewed at Cumæ the place where Homer repeated his verses

Shew Sr I. N.s furnace at Cambridge

When the problem in 1697 was sent by Bernoulli – Sr I. N. was in the midst of the hurry of the great recoinage did not come home till four from the Tower very much tired, but did not sleep till he had solved it wch was by 4 in the morning C. C.

Servants used to find him in winter sitting in his shirt & writing at the window in a morning –

Always told him dinner was ready half an hour before hand – sometimes let it stand two hours on the table – & often when he came down if he found any paper or book he would let the dinner stand hours – often eat his gruel or milk & eggs that was carried to him warm for his supper he would often eat cold for his breakfast C. C.

Gassendi afraid of criticizing Aristotle's Philosophy for fear of being persecuted – say of him what was said of Descartes – {(Letter} that he shewed an elevation & depth of Genius but w{as} infelix operis {summa}. Bayle p. 325.


Thales sacrificed an Ox for hitting on the method of inscribing a rectangled triangle within a circle. Pythagoras \said he would give/ an Ecatomb \for a trifling problem What then would he have given for Sr I. Ns inventions/ &c – Diogenes Laertius in Thalete – Sr I. N. told Mr Iones all he did in the edition of Varenius before wch is put Curante Isaaco Newtono was to draw the schemes wch in the Elzevir Edition were referred to & were not there |he told me who first pressed him to read Pemberton's view – that he had only read some pages cursorily that he believed he understood his principia that having the stile of what he had read was not as he had been told obscure but added very distinctly that he had not altered a tyttle or done any thing to make the book in any degree his –| \as the/ the {leaves} for lives &c – wch are printed in his name, a bookseller prevailed with him only to look over one page & so he writt what is there mentioned –

His Arithmetick was first printed by Whiston agt Sr I. inclination but being full of errors, he afterwards printed it himself corrected the faults & Machin over looked the press for wch he intended to haue given him 100 Guineas but he made him wait 3 years for a preface & then did not write one but left it to the Bookseller to put in one —

Theon a Greek com̄entator says Comets were regular bodies beyond the Moon — Seneca the same –

Milton had probably read Kepler whence <2r> he had the hint of the Newtonian System – Co

In Coste's preface to the Opticks mention is made that some old author said some person would come who would dissect light &c tho it seemed to be a work above Human nature –

Seneca said the same of Comets –

No. 2 –

Huygens did not at first understand his Theory of light, call it an Hypothesis say two colours made white \could not find it out when told, he who had made opticks his particular study/ – vide letters

\See – Fontenelles Eloge about Mariotte –/

Loch took his propositions for granted on hearing Huygens say he had proved them — Mario

Barrow's opticks mention Sr I.

See preface to Keill's astronomy

Sr I. admired Pythagoras thought his Musick was gravity —

Bentley said – Sr I. told him all his merit was patient thought

After Sr I. printed his principia, as he passed by the students at Cambridge said there goes the man who has writt a book that neither he nor any one else understands –


Leibnitz – Hooke –
   may be compared to the man in the fable who when he had stoln Hercules's club could not lift it & when he had attempted to do it, it fell on his toes & crippled him – Ulysses's Bow wch none could use but himself –

Sr I. N. was the father of Geometry as Homer was from of Poetry, from his fountain others draw a small stream wch some have improved as Machin on the Moon – Maclaurin curves Du Moivre Algebra & fluxions Halley Astronomy Longitude, but all own him for their father —–

French not Dr Cheyne said this {sic} |next| century will live upon his scraps & spoils – \Mr Machin told me the/ French \do/ not yet thoroughly understand his works, particularly his opticks thoroughly & the Queries by wch Sr I. meant more than is generally understood, that he knows how far the French are got in the Opticks by their memoirs in which they print what they understand as new discoveries – Machin says more on the Opticks than principia <3r> hints \a fund of Philosophy/ wch will employ the learned for many centuries, hints wch few understand – Hawksbee he told me he learned several things about \refining/ metals \particularly transmuting iron to copper/ from those hints wch vulgar mechanicks not {sic} know, when I asked him to tell me he desired to keep {sic} those facts a secret for his own profit – Machin told me he let Hawksbee into the secret – –

When Sr I. N was first made President the Society intended to chuse Sr Cr Wren but he desired they would make Sr I. N. x |as Alcibiades did by Socrates he took the laurel off his own head to put it on Sr Isaac's – his modesty would not suffer him to take the chair in Philosophy whilst Sr I. N. was in being wch the Com̄on voice of all learning had given Sr I. –|

Machin – said 2d fluxions were ridiculous only fluxions of fluxions that they might as well be carried to 3d and 4th &c – that Sr I. did every thing with out them & so did he –

Sr I. told me Machin understood his principia best – that He was the best Geometer & Halley the best astronomer –

Sr I. had a particular way \happiness/ of explaining himself & making the most difficult things understood – easier to understand than Pemberton – Iobas in {Cocceeitus–} the words followed his \naturally & easily where there was such an abundance of the/ provisa res & so clear \& strong/ a conception – he expressed himself in the shorte <3v> he expressed his sense in the shortest manner, like the \Author of/ great {sic} subject of his studies quod non fecit per plura quod fieri poterit per pauciora |to speak in the Philosophical language he rarified instead of condensing, |condensed instead of rarifying his thoughts & matter| or extending his thoughts & matter – Guardian 1. Vol. p. 381–2–3 – p. 147 –|, by only giving hints left room for others to flatter themselves {sic} \when they understood him/ with the thought that they had some share of the invention

the French Academy as fast as they understand \learn/ some parts of his Philosophy print them as \new/ discoveries of their own He puts out of modesty by way of Queries what he had proved, & others have proved since – Hales Staticks –

Ptolemy k of Ægypt told Euclid he observed they were always stydying in night gowns & asked if he could not learn mathematicks without all that trouble. No Sr said Euclid there is no Royal King's way to the Mathematicks

E. Halifax asked Sr I. N. if there was no
* Tourreuil p. 276 Ils se piquent d'ente
way to
method to make him master of his discoueries without learning Mathematicks – Sr I. said No it was impossible, but Mr Maine recom̄ended <4r> Machin to his Lp for that purpose who have him 50 Guis by way of encouragement Machin as he told me himself tried made several schemes but never any that satisfied him & gave it up in despair Pemberton attempted it with great emolument to himself 3000 subscriptions at a Guinea wch shewed the earnest desire of all ranks &c –

Monsignor Bianchini the Pope's Chamberlain came over as he said only to see Sr I. N. he came the last year of the Queen & some said it was with a message from the Pretender, but Mr Cunningham who had been so long Resident {sic} at Venice told informed me that Bianchini told him at Rome at Rome {sic} the year before that he expected to carry a cap to a <4v> French Cardinal & that if he did he would certainly come to England to see Sr I. Newton – he did carry one I think to Cardinal Polignac at Utrecht that year Quære

Count Marsigli came over on the same account –

Dr Arbuthnott told me that he being in France in 1699, the Marquis de l'Hospital hearing he understood Mathematicks sent to him & said none of the English could explain to him the problem of what curve would find the least resistance in a fluid – the Dr shewed him that problem in a scholium of Sr I N.s Principia wch the Marquis had overlooked – he cried out with admiration Good god What a fund of knowledge there is in that book? he then asked the Dr every particular about Sr I. even to the colour of his hair <5r> said does he eat & drink & sleep is he like other men? & was surprized when the Dr told him he \was as/ conversed chearfully with his {oth} friends \assumed nothing/ & put himself upon a level with all mankind –

the Marquis's wife was the last remains of the House of *[1] Coligni, & was going to see her Cousin Coligni & he was resolved to go to England to see a greater man Sr I. N. but he died in the Spring – soon after – It was at the time K. Wm's army was disbanded thou I. 2. then in France & a new war expected – the Marquis said nothing gave him a greater Idea of the English nation than their obliging a great prince at the head of a victorious army to disband it contrary to his inclination, that the English were wise d'etre maitres chès eux, you see what has happened to us & When the Dr complimented <5v> the nation on the encouragement of arts & sciences giuen by Lewis the 14th, he said you have a better encouragement Liberty

Sr I. had the ornament of a quiet & meek Spirit wch is in the sight of God of so great price – St Peter Tillotson p. 267

Men in years haue made their last understanding Tillotson. 280 Memm Molineux's telling him the discovery of the nutation of the earth had destroyed all his Philosophy —

Dr Halley told me he pressed Sr I. to compleat his Theory of the Moon saying no body else could do it. Sr I. said it has broke my rest so often I will think of it no more, but afterwards told me that when Halley had made six years observations he would have t'other stroke at the moon – at another time said if he was younger he would have another touch at metals


Redundancy of spirits that produces the poetical flame keeps up the vital warmth & administers uncom̄on fuel to life – Guardian – 1. V. p. 416 –

[2] The Hoary head is a crown of glory if it be found in righteousness – 16 c. proverbs – v. 31 —

Upon telling what Mr Molineux related to me – viz – that after they \he & Mr Graham & Bradley/ had put up a perpendicular Telescope at Kew to find out the Parallax of the fixed stars they found a certain nutation in the earth wch they could not account for & wch Molineux told me he thought destroyed entirely the Newtonian system, & therefore he was under the greatest difficulty how to break it to Sr I, but & when he did it broke it by degrees in the softest manner & all Sr I. said in answer \when he had told him his opinion/, was, it may be so, there is no arguing against facts & experiments, wether so cold was he to all sense of fame & this at a time when <6v> as Tillotson said a man has formed his last understanding – vide. p. 202 of Burnet's Theory – of inclination & reasoned opinions where he gives his own character in describing that of Lucretius –

[3] Machin told me that Flamstead said Sr I. worked with the oar he had dug, to wch Sr I. replied if he dug the oar I made the gold ring – Flamstead complained that Sr I. had stoln 300 Stars from him —–

13. May 1730 –

Dr Halley told me that Flamstead's observations wch he had compared erred about two minutes & a half his own former ones about 1 minute from the truth of Sr I.'s Theory at the most 5 minutes from observations wch might perhaps err one minute at least from the truth – that thou Sr Isaac made no observations himself he made use of such as he could get & (often complained <7r> of the poverty of the materials he had {for {sic}} his Theory of the Moon –) that he could not haue made his Theory without some observations When I told the Dr I hoped he \and his family/ would haue a share of the premium for the Longitude in proportion to the observations he had made he said Sr I.s family by the same rule ought to have a \their/ share for without his Theory no body could ever have attempted to make observations – He said Sr I.s Theory was most defective in the Quarters of the Moon between midnight & morning for wch he had the fewest observations —–

Dr Halley coming {sic} one day to dine with Sr I. at the Mint, I asked him how he went on with the Moon, & how he found Sr I. Theory agree with his observations to wch he <7v> answered very exact – some few excursions but fewer than could be imagined – Sr I. sitting by the fire then said others made Theories of the Moon from observations wch erred 20 minutes, I made one wch seldom errs three & neuer aboue 5 only by arguing from the cause     must not that be the true cause?

Dr Halley in May – 1730 told me he had made 812 years observations & had made in that time above 1300 on the Moon but that still there would be Hiatus \valde {deflexius}/ in M.SS. because sometimes the moon would not be visible for 8 or 9 days, that it was a pity there was not two observers abroad one at Aleppo or in Syria at summer & one in N. America all winter where the Moon would always be visible – He said Kepler had whims Sr I. none – Kepler shewed the ore or how – Sr I. the δει {illeg} τε or wherefore <8r> Mem. Quære what were the whims of Kepler – Des Cartes – Leibnitz Halley's own – viz – subterranean world – saltness of sea – &c

Halley said that the reflecting Telescop{e} wch Fontenelle mentions {to b}e as go{od} as one of 20 feet is a{s good as} a com̄on one of 50 – {illeg}{ssle} when in England saw in it the shadow of Saturn's ring wch he had never seen before —–

Wright's travells – 2. V. p. 457 mentions an inscription setting forth that as Hannibal Carracia died as he was painting some fine pieces – id fatebene potius intactas spectari quam alienā manu tractatas – Vide — this may be applied to the printing the treatise upon Fluxions wch Pemberton asked 60 Guineas to perfect, & the proposal made by the relations to hire some persons to finish what Sr I. had left imperfect


The Athenians would not forgive Alcibiades for losing any victory for not overcoming euery enemy imagining one who had done so much could do every thing he would — So when Sr I. declared he did not know the cause of gravity they would not be satisfied, declared he could –

[4] Socrates left Philosophy to study & practise morality – Sr I. without quitting Philosophy studied & practised morality vide – 4. 8. Rollin – p. 350– Sr I. had the same contempt of riches as Socrates – He as well as Socrates said he would make no necessities to himself when asked to take snuff or Tobacco wch he never did – Socrates said Quantis non egeo – p. 353. 4. V. Rollin -

Collect from the Transactions an account of Sr I. reflecting Telescope – of the disputes &c – \Memm Gregory had made rules for one {thinner} {illeg} {partition} {illeg}/

Sr Christopher Wren did by Sr I. N. as *[5] Alcibiades did by Socrates took the Laurell from his own head to put it on his


At enim hominum membra {illeg} contentione mente ipsā ac {illeg} moneantur sic numine de{illeg} omnia fingi moveri mut{illeg} posse, neque id dicitis sup{illeg} atque aniliter sed Phys{illeg} This is said in the 3d book {illeg} de Naturâ Deorum near {the} en{d} by Cotta who soke the sentiment of the Academicians, as charged upon the Stoicks of whose opinion Cicero was – Is not this something like what Sr I. N. says of space being the sensorium of God —— Vide wether this be more explained by Balbus in the second book —–

[1] Memm. Fontenelle in the Eloge of the Marquis gives no such account ergo Quære –

[2] {Li}

[3] Flamstead

[4] Character

[5] Dacier Discours sur Platon –

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Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
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