17 June 2008
NEWTON, Sir Isaac. A Treatise of the System of the World. London: for F. Fayram, 1728.
8o (192 x 120 mm). 2 engraved plates, woodcut diagrams throughout. (A8 with tear in lower margin crossing 6 lines of text, first few leaves a bit browned.) Contemporary panelled calf, spine in six compartments, red morocco gilt lettering-piece in one, others decorated with gilt cross-hatching (lettering-piece chipped with loss, extremities scuffed, hinges starting, a few surface abrasions).
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH. Also published the same year in Latin as De Mundi Systemate and originally intended as the third book of Principia "but that afterwards to avoid the disputes which might arise, if those who were unacquainted with the principles laid down in preceding books, and full of the prejudices which many years had made natural to them, should take it in hand, he put the substance of that book into propositions in the mathematical way, that it might be read by those only who had studied the principles beforehand" (Newton, Preface). Ahead of his time "Newton points to the possibility of Terrestrial Tidal effects, which were discovered by Michelson in 1919, and another passage indicates the existence of the planet Uranos, which was actually first seen by Herschel in 1781" (Babson). The translator was probably Andrew Motte. Babson 18; Norman 1593; Wallis 30.
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