NEWTON, ISAAC. 1642-1727, and ADRIAEN VERWER. c.1655-1717. Autograph Note Signed Integrally ("Sir Isaac Newton"), 1 p, 8vo (126 x 193 mm), [after] November 19, 1715,
Lot 7
NEWTON, ISAAC. 1642-1727, and ADRIAEN VERWER. c.1655-1717.
Autograph Note Signed Integrally ("Sir Isaac Newton"), 1 p, 8vo (126 x 193 mm), [after] November 19, 1715,
US$ 80,000 - 120,000
£ 59,000 - 89,000

Lot Details
NEWTON, ISAAC. 1642-1727, and ADRIAEN VERWER. c.1655-1717.
Autograph Note Signed Integrally ("Sir Isaac Newton"), 1 p, 8vo (126 x 193 mm), [after] November 19, 1715, being a brief autobiography and note on the Principia in response to a query from scholar Adriaen Verwer, the query from Verwer in a secretarial hand, with a note to the margin, Extract... out of Adr Verwer's letter." Original folds, remains of red wax seal, some light darkening.
Provenance: sold Bloomsbury, February 14, 1991, lot 394.

AUTOGRAPH NOTE RESPONDING TO AN INQUIRY OF ADRIAEN VERWER, giving a brief autobiography and mentioning future edition of the Principia. Adriaen Verwer was a Dutch author and philosopher of the late 17th-century, at the center of a group of amateur mathematicians in Amsterdam. The Dutch response to Newton's Principia was initially rather cold; both Christian Huygens and Burchard de Volder were rather critical of Newton's work. The acceptance in the Netherlands of the revolutionary Newtonian model did not take hold in the academies, but blossomed amongst a loose connection of amateur scientists and mathematicians of which Verwer was at the center. Here he requests information regarding the next edition of the Principia, as well as the origins of Newton: "having a very great esteem for this gentleman, whose Works I have studied for several Year's past, & therefore shall take it for a particular favor if you can gratifie my Request in ye above desired respects." Newton's kind response is at the foot of the letter, and interestingly estimates, "It may be two or three years before his Principia Philosophiae is reprinted." It would be at least 10 years.

Verwer's heavily annotated copy of the first edition is preserved in the Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht. The present letter illuminates this important relationship, connecting Newton, the great scientist whose ideas revolutionized our conception of the world, and Verwer, a man referred to as the "first continental Newtonian," an amateur of crucial importance for the spread of Newtonian ideas on the Continent. Vermij, "The Formation of the Newtonian Philosophy: The Case of the Amsterdam Mathematical Amateurs," in The British Journal for the History of Science (June, 2003), pp 183-200.


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