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Newton, the Man — Again

  • Gale E. Christianson
Chapter
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 123)

Abstract

Days passed, then weeks, and finally months, during which Edmond Halley, a twenty-eight-year-old natural philosopher of the first order, must have experienced more than his share of uneasy moments. Isaac Newton, it appeared, had forgotten his pledge of August 1684, when Halley had gone up to Cambridge on what now seemed a fool’s errand.

Keywords

Royal Society Natural Philosopher French Mathematician True Believer Pure Thought 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, ed. by H.W. Turnbull, J.F. Scott, A.R. Hall, and Laura Tilling, 7 vols. (Cambridge, England, 1959–77), II, pp. 433–35, 443 (hereinafter cited as I.N. Corres.).Google Scholar
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  4. 4.
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    Thomas Birch, the History of the Royal Society of London, 4 vols. (London, 1756–57), v. 4, p. 347. Though the minutes suggest that Halley had not seen De Motu before his second visit to Cambridge, scholars generally agree that Paget had carried a copy to him as discussed. See, for example, I. Bernard Cohen, Introduction to Newton’s ‘Principia’ (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), pp. 54–58.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Keynes Manuscript Collection, King’s College Library 137 (hereinafter cited as Keynes MS.).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    John Maynard Keynes, “Newton the Man,” The Royal Society of London: Newton Tercentenary Celebrations (Cambridge, England, 1947), p. 27.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Keynes MSS. 130(10), p. 1; 130, p. 15.Google Scholar
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    Keynes MS. 136, p. 5.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Westfall, “Short-Writing,” pp. 13–14.Google Scholar
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    U.L.C. Add. MS. 3996. Newton used several notebooks at Cambridge, each devoted to a different subject: mathematics, theology, alchemy, philosophy, etc. This work has been termed the “philosophical notebook.” See Richard S. Westfall, “The Foundations of Newton’s Philosophy of Nature,” British Journal for the History of Science, I, no. 2 (1962), p. 171.Google Scholar
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    I.N. Corres., III, p. 153.Google Scholar
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    U.L.C. Add. MS. 3996, ff. 109r, 125.Google Scholar
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    U.L.C. Add. MS. 3975, p. 15.Google Scholar
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    U.L.C. Add. MS. 3996, ff. 90r, 114–16.Google Scholar
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    Keynes MS. 130(10).Google Scholar
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    I.N. Corres., III, pp. 279, 280, 284.Google Scholar
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    U.L.C. Add. MS. 3996, f. 128.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
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  23. 23.
    U.L.C. Add. MS. 3958.3, ff. 48–63. For a step-by-step analysis of these developments see The Mathematical Papers of Isaac Newton, ed. by D.T. Whiteside, 8 vols. (Cambridge, England, 1967–80), I.Google Scholar
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  27. 27.
    Ibid., p. 249.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    U.L.C. Add. MS. 3975, pp. 1–20.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 12.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
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  31. 31.
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  32. 32.
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  33. 33.
    U.L.C. Add. MS. 3958.2, f. 45r; 3958.5, ff. 87r-88r. Both have been reproduced and annotated in the Correspondence, the first in III, pp. 46–54, the second in I, pp. 297–303. They also appear in John Herivel, The Background to Newton’s ‘Principia’ (Oxford, 1965), pp. 182–98.Google Scholar
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  37. 37.
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    Keynes, “Newton the Man,” pp. 27, 29.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
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  40. 40.
    Keynes MS. 135.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs, The Foundations of Newton’s Alchemy (Cambridge, England, 1975), p. 88.Google Scholar
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    Richard S. Westfall, “The Role of Alchemy in Newton’s Career,” Reason, Experiment, and Mysticism in the Scientific Revolution, ed. by M.L. Righini Bonelli and William R. Shea (New York, 1975), p. 203. With the exception of Index 39, which is in the Yale Medical Library, the remainder of the Index chemicus is in Keynes MS. 30.Google Scholar
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    Keynes MS. 67.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Isaiah 45:3.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Keynes MS. 130, f. 5v.Google Scholar
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    Richard S. Westfall, Never at Rest: A Biography of Isaac Newton (Cambridge, England and New York), p. 294.Google Scholar
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    J.E. McGuire and P.M. Rattansi, “Newton and the ‘Pipes of Pan,’”Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, 21 (1966), p. 126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Gale E. Christianson, In the Presence of the Creator: Isaac Newton and His Times (New York and London, 1984), p. 203.Google Scholar
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    Leon Edel, Henry D. Thoreau (Minneapolis, 1970), p. 8.Google Scholar
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    Keynes MS. 3, p. 14.Google Scholar
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    Richard S. Westfall, “Isaac Newton in Cambridge: The Restoration University and Scientific Creativity,” Culture and Politics from Puritanism to the Enlightenment, ed. by Perez Zagorin (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1980), p. 151.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gale E. Christianson
    • 1
  1. 1.Indiana State UniversityUSA

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