Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton's life/Later days
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, was pretty considerable, as the Law directed; 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 2d. . 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 . in law, by his 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, is now in the Royal Society room. a print of it by Mr Vertue. Mr Smith had before made a from that of Sr. Godfrys. in the Royal Society room is a very fine marble of him. monsiour Marchand an excellent artist in ivory, made a very good likeness of him: I saw afterward, at Stamford, in 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,
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