1 December 2016
NEWTON, Sir Isaac (1642-1727). The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. London: for Benjamin Motte, 1729.
A very attractive copy of the first edition in English of the most important work in the history of science. 'Perhaps the greatest intellectual stride that it has ever been granted to any man to make' (Einstein).
2 volumes, 8vo (195 x 116mm). 2 engraved frontispieces and 3 headpieces by A. Motte, 47 folding plates, 2 folding letterpress tables. Contemporary panelled calf. Provenance: John Hughes (ink ownership inscription dated 18 October 1792, and thence by descent to the present consignor).
A crisp, unsophisticated copy of 'the greatest work in the history of science. Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler had certainly shown the way; but where they described the phenomena they observed, Newton explained the underlying laws' (PMM). The first edition was published in Latin in 1687, followed by a the second edition 1713. This edition also includes an English translation of Newton's System of the World, presumably by Motte. John Machin's unsuccessful attempt to rectify Newton's lunar theory is included at the end. Babson/Newton 20; Gray 23; Norman 1587; Wallis 23. See PMM 161.
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