John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722) was England's most famous soldier of the period and a prominent figure in the Whig faction, like Newton, who was a Member of Parliament for Cambridge University from 1689 to 1690, and 1701 to 1702. Marlborough and Newton shared a dislike of James II's pro-Catholic policies, and both subsequently found favour with Queen Anne, Marlborough holding a series of important offices, and Newton receiving a knighthood from Anne in 1705, and holding various public positions.
Newton was appointed Warden of the Mint in 1696, and was responsible in the capacity for overseeing the production of medals commemorating events of national significance. A listing of medals struck during Anne's reign, reproduced in The Correspondence volume VI as plate V, show that nearly a third celebrate Marlborough's victories. These include "On the Battle of Blenheim", "On the Battle of Ramillies" and "On the Battle of Oudenard". It is possible that Marlborough gave the cane to Newton to demonstrate his appreciation of these medals.
The verse on the collar is Alexander Pope's "Epitaph Intended For Sir Isaac Newton, in Westminster Abbey" (1730). Although Newton died in 1727, three years before Pope's "Epitaph" was written, the "Epitaph" was so celebrated that it would have been a very natural addition to make to the cane.