I am obliged to you as well for the communication of the Letter of the excellent Mr Wotton — as for your obliging offer to mediate a good understanding between Mr Newton & me. It was not I that interrupted it. One Mr Keil inserted something against me in one of your Philosophical Transactions. I was much surprised at it & demanded reparation by a Letter to Dr Sloane Secretary of the Society. Dr Sloane sent me a discourse of Mr Keil where he justified what he said after a manner which reflected even upon my integrity. I took this for a private animosity peculiar to that person without having the least suspicion that the Society & Mr Newton himself took part therein. And not judging it worth the while to enter into a dispute with a man ill instructed in former affairs, & supposing also that Mr Newton himself being better informed of that which had passed, would do me justice, I continued only to demand that satisfaction which was due to me. But I know not by what chicanery & deceipt some brought it about that this matter was taken as if I were pleading before the Society, & submitted my self to their jurisdiction, which I never thought of. And according to justice they should have let me know that the Society would examin the bottom of this affair & have given me opportunity to declare if I would propose my reasons & if I did not hold any of the Judges for suspected. So they have given sentence, one side only being heard, in such a manner that the nullity is visible. Also I do not at all beleive that the judgment which is given can be taken for a final judgment of the Society. Yet Mr Newton has caused it to be published to the world by a book printed expresly for discrediting me & sent it into Germany into France & into Italy as in the name of the Society. This pretended judgment & this affront done without cause to one of the most ancient members of the Society it self, & who has done it no dishonour, will find but few approvers in the world. And in the Society it self I hope that all the members will not agree to it. The able men among the French, Italians & others disapprove highly of this proceeding & are astonished at it, & I have several Letters upon it in my hands. The proofs produced against me appear to them very short.

As for me I have always carried my self with the greatest respect that could be towards Mr Newton. And tho it appears now that there is great room to doubt whether he knew my invention before he had it from me, yet I have spoken as if he had of himself found something like my method: but being abused by some flatterers ill advised he has taken the liberty to attaque me in a manner very sensible. Judge now, Sir, from what side that should principally come which is requisite to terminate this controversy. I have not yet seen the book published against me being at Vienna which is in the furthest part of Germany where such books come very slowly, & I have not thought it worth the while to send for it by the Post. So I have not yet been able to make such an Apology as the affair requires. But others have already taken care of my reputation. I abhor disobliging disputes among men of Letters & have always avoyded them; but at present all means possible have been taken to engage me in them. If the evil could be redressed Sir by your interposition, which you offer so obliginly, I should be very glad; & I am already very much obliged to you for it.

© 2024 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL - newtonproject@history.ox.ac.uk

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