A portrait of Isaac Newton by Frank E. Manual

By Frank E. Manual

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Mother. Likewise when at home if his mother ordered him into the fields, to look after the sheep, the corn, or upon any other rural employment, it went on very heavily through his manage. His chief delight was to sit under a tree, with a book in his hands, or to busy himself with his knife in cutting wood Charles Hutton, the late-eighteenth-century compiler of a famous philosophical and mathematical dictionary, who had assembled oral Stukeley’s memoir of 1752 adds a comical story of Newton’s ab­ traditions about scientists of the previous age, was reluctant to ac­ cept Stukeley’s explanation of Newton’s failure to consummate this abiding love.

The doctors make their appearance only late in life when he has become a great administrator. W ho knows but that his puritan independence and sense of autonomy carried over into medicine saved him from the tender ministrations of many a ruthless bleeder. A chief source of Newton’s desire to know was his anxiety be­ fore and his fear of the unknown. W hen he learned the laws of his God he was able to allay those fears; but his anxiety often kept pace with his discoveries and was perpetually renewed.

Th e future hangman of “coyners” and “clippers” at the Mint had in his youth been guilty of their crime, albeit on a very small scale: Striving to cheate with a brass halfe crowne. The commandment against bearing false witness had been extended in puritan morality to make of any lie a grave offense, and Newton re­ membered his acts of deception. Not only had he made a feather on the Sabbath but he denied it. The pettiness of the deceits that he felt impelled to confess is a measure of the severe standards by which he judged himself: Lying about a louse; Deceiving my chamberfellow of the kjiowledge of him that too\ him for a sot.

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