17 June 2008
NEWTON, Sir Isaac. Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Edition tertia aucta et emendate. Edited by Henry Pemberton. London: William & John Innys, 1726.
4o (241 x 190 mm). Half-title, privilege leaf, title-page printed in red and black. Engraved portrait frontispiece by George Vertue after Vanderbank, engraved plate on page 506, woodcut diagrams throughout. (First few leaves a bit thumbed.) Contemporary panelled speckled calf (rebacked to style, inner hinges strengthened, extremities rubbed). Provenance: contemporary library mark verso title-page; William Gray, Lincoln (19th-century inscription front paste-down).
Third edition, the last published in the author's lifetime, and THE BASIS FOR ALL SUBSEQUENT EDITIONS. "Pemberton was invited to superintend the editing of the third edition of the Principia... Pemberton was then about thirty years old and was rightly flattered to get the opportunity to work so closely with the great eighty-year-old Newton. However, Newton often ignored Pemberton's editorial suggestions. Pemberton wrote A View of Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy (1728, see lot 271), which he had partly read to the dying Newton. It made no great mark but could at least be recommended as being propaedeutic" (DNB). Including Newton's Prefaces to previous editions and his new one mentioning Halley's comet, and many 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 criticised as taking advantage of an opponent whose death had prevented any reply" (Babson). Also published in a large-paper edition of 50 copies for presentation. Babson 13; Wallis 9.
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