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SIR ISAAC NEWTON
DAVID BREWSTER, LL.D. F.R.S.
Ergo vivida vis arimi pervicit, et extra
Lucret. lib. i. 1. 78
THE kindness with which your lordship intrusted to me some very valuable materials for the composition of this volume has induced me to embrace the present opportunity of publicly acknowledging it. But even if this personal obligation had been less powerful, those literary attainments and that enlightened benevolence which reflect upon rank its highest lustre would have justified me in seeking for it the patronage of a name which they have so justly honoured.
Allerly, June 1st, 1831.
As this is the only Life of Sir Isaac Newton on any considerable scale that has yet appeared, I have experienced great difficulty in preparing it for the public. The materials collected by preceding biographers were extremely scanty; the particulars of his early life, and even the historical details of his discoveries, have been less perfectly preserved than those of his illustrious predecessors; and it is not creditable to his disciples that they have allowed a whole century to elapse without any suitable record of the life and labours of a master who united every claim to their affection and gratitude.
In drawing up this volume, I have obtained much assistance from the account of Sir Isaac Newton in the Biographia Britannica; from the letters to 01denburg, and other papers in Bishop Horsley's edition of his works ; from Turnor's Collections for the History of the Town and Soke of Grantham; from M. Biot's excellent Life of Newton in the Biographie Universelle; and from Lord King's Life and Correspondence of Locke.
Although these works contain much important information respecting the Life of Newton, yet I have been so fortunate as to obtain many new ma terials of considerable value.