Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton's life/Later days

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Sr. Isaac, in the latter part of his days, thro' age, & a sedentary life, had somewhat of a relaxation of the sphincter of the bladder: so that he was oblig'd to make water frequently. a year or two before this laſt, he had a fitt of the gout: upon wh his friends congratulated him, as an inſurance of long life. but I had different ſentiments: & this event verify'd my preſage.

his laſt illneſs was an inflammation on the neck of his bladder, with the moſt excrutiating pain, that can be imagined; & that for ſeveral days continuance.xI have no scruple in judging it to be gouty. Some thought it, the stone. it roſe to ſuch a height, that the bed under him, & the very room ſhook with his agonys, to the wonder of thoſe that were preſent. ſuch a ſtruggle had his great ſoul to quit its earthly tabernacle! all this he bore with a moſt exemplary, & remarkable patience, truly philosophical, truly chriſtian; & a reſignation to the divine will, equal to his other vertues; expiring with ſoft, & ſilent groans: his ſpirit taking its flight thro the well known ſtarry orbs: whilſt his name lives on earth, till attraction in the planetary bodys exceeds thir impulsive motion; & the ſun abſorbs them, in the laſt conflagration.

*he read the journal of Saturday 18 March in the morning & talkd a good deal with Dr. Mead who attended him. he was in perfect senses till that evening: but then lost them irrecoverably.

he dy'd about 2 a clock in the morning, of the 20 march 1726-7. in the 85th. year of his age current. ^he lay in state in Jerusalem chamber he was bury'd with decent ſolemnity, in wesminster abby, Sr Michael Newlon chief mourner.

his good works follow him. his learned works remain, to eternize his memory, the admiration of all mankind. Europe sighd at the loss of so incomparable a perſon. Science mourn'd its light. its glory extinct!

he thought fit to make no Will, but loſt his fortune, wh was pretty conſiderable, as the Law directed; wh his relations ſhared among them, he had given a great part of his money, to Mrs Catherin Barton his favorite niece, upon her marriage with Mr Conduit. his eſtate fell to his next heir John Newton as before said, who is deriv'd from his fa.rs 2d. bror. he wholly unworthy of the name of Newton ſoon spent it. his perſonal estate came to the smiths, & Bartons, pretty many in number, deſcendants from his far. in law, by his mor. it amounted to about £3500 each, but all ſoon found a period. as if to ſhow the fleeting vanity of riches, family, & ſecular acquirements, in competition with the more durable, & ſubſtantial glorys of vertue, & the ſplendors of the mind. & tho its in the power of a very few, to arrivd at a high degree of excellence in this way; yet its happy for us, that we may all ſo trim our lamps, as hereafter to shine; tho not as ſtars of the first magnitude. for the future ſtate, as well as this, will be an allotment of different degrees of glory, as the most learned apoſtle argues, in that admirable piece of religious philoſophy I.Cor.XV.41. let its copy after Sr. Iſaacs moral, & religious character; it will inſure us of a bliſful immortality; when the wiſdom of this world will be no more.

this ſmall offering, & grateful tribute I make to the shrine of this illuſtrious perſon, an offering not quite inconſiderable enough to be forgotten. & it may be ſome what helpful to thoſe that can add to it, & perfect it.

there are a good many pictures of him, beſide that by Sr. Godfry Knoller. and painted by Vanderbank in his own hair, wh is now in the Royal Society room. a print of it by Mr Vertue. Mr Smith had before made a metzo tinto from that of Sr. Godfrys. in the Royal Society room is a very fine marble buste of him. monſiour Marchand an excellent artiſt in ivory, made a very good likeneſs of him: wh I ſaw afterward, at Stamford, in possion of one of his heirs, Mr. Ben Smith. I made several drawings of him from the life; chiefly in the antique way of profile; & very like. whereof that here prefixed is one. Mr Conduit caused a very good medal of him to be struck. he gave me one of them. he had a countenance pleasing, & good humor'd; but sufficiently indicative of vast penetration. the marble statue of him on his monument is very well done. I painted his profile, as big as the life, in a niche in one of the wings of the garden front of my house at Grantham, facing the fine prospect of Harrowby hill; underneath inscribed GENIO LOCI.

the inscription on his monument is a very handsom, & concise enumeration of his works, & of his qualitys, & vertues. Dr Bentley, Mr Pope & all the wits of that time, made epitaphs on this occasion. & Monsieur Fontanelle pronounc'd a handsom elogium before the Academy of Sciences at Paris.

H. S. E.

Isaacus Newton Eques auratus,

Qui animi vi prope divinâ,

Planetarum motus, figuras,

Cometarum semitas, Oceanique aestus,

sua mathesi facem praeferente,

primus demonstravit;

Radiorum lucis dissimilitudines,

Colorumque inde nascentium proprietates,

quas nemo anteá vel suspicatus erat, pervestigavit.

Naturæ, Antiquitatis, S. Scripturæ.,

sedulus, sagax, fidus Interpres.

Dei O.M. majestatem philosophia asseruit;

Evangelii simplicitatem moribus expressit.

Sibi gratulentur mortales

Tale tantumque extitisse

Humani Generis Decus.

nat. XXV Dec. AD. MDCXLII. obiit XX mar. MDCCXXVI


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