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    A Beautiful Large Paper Copy of Newton's Principia

    Sir Isaac Newton. Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica. Editio tertia aucta & emendate. London: Apud Guil. & Joh. Innys, 1726.

    Third edition of "the greatest work in the history of science" (Printing and the Mind of Man). One of 200 large paper copies on "General Royal paper with the "CC" watermark. Quarto (11.25 x 8.75 inches; 289 x 222 mm). [34], 530, [6, index] pages. With engraved frontispiece portrait and numerous diagrams. Bound without rear ad, but with initial privilege leaf and half-title leaf. Collates as copy 2 of Babson.

    Contemporary full vellum, front board professionally reattached. Black calf spine label, lettered in gilt. Faint dampstain at upper corner of initial leaves. Faint dampstain at upper corner of initial leaves. An exceptionally large, fresh and bright copy, housed in a quarter black morocco over white cloth slipcase.

    "This edition was the last published during the author's lifetime and the basis of all subsequent editions. It was edited by Henry Pemberton, M.D., F.R.S., and contains a new preface by Newton and a large number of alterations, the most important being the scholium on fluxions, in which Leibnitz had been mentioned by name. This had been considered an acknowledgement of Leibnitz's independent discovery of the calculus. In omitting Leibnitz's name in this edition, Newton was criticized as taking advantage of an opponent whose death had prevented any reply" (Babson).

    In the Principia, Newton formulated the three laws of motion from which he derived the principle of universal gravitation, "wherein all bodies, of whatever mass, attract one another in proportion to their masses and in inverse ratio as the square of the distance between them. This applies to dust particles as to the mightiest celestial bodies" (Dibner).

    "Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler had certainly shown the way; but where they described the phenomena they observed, Newton explained the underlying universal laws. The Principia provided the great synthesis of the cosmos, proving finally its physical unity. Newton showed that the important and dramatic aspects of nature that were subject to the universal law of gravitation could be explained, in mathematical terms, within a single physical theory ...The same laws of gravitation and motion rule everywhere; for the first time a single mathematical law could explain the motion of objects on earth as well as the phenomena of the heavens. The whole cosmos is composed of inter-connecting parts influencing each other according to these laws. It was this grand conception that produced a general revolution in human thought, equaled perhaps only by that following Darwin's Origin of Species" (Printing and the Mind of Man, describing the first edition).

    Babson 13. Gray 9. Wallis 9.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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