NEWTON ON “ONE PERFECT SCIENCE OF COMPUTING”: RARE FIRST EDITION OF HIS UNIVERSAL ARITHMETICK, 1707
NEWTON, Isaac. Arithmetica Universalis; sive de Compositione et Resolutione Arithmetica Liber. Cui accessit Halleiana Aequationum Radices Arithmetice inveniendi methodus. Cambridge / London: University Press / Benj. Tooke, 1707. Small octavo, contemporary brown speckled paper-covered boards, recently rebacked in three-quarter speckled calf-gilt, red morocco spine label, raised bands, early endpapers retained. $25,000.
Rare first edition of Sir Isaac Newton’s influential Lucasian lectures on algebra, with in-text diagrams throughout, in contemporary paper covered boards.
Although Newton is today best remembered for his Principia, his Method of Fluxions and his Opticks, "there is also a fourth work which in the 18th century appeared in a greater number of editions than did the other three… This was the Arithmetica universalis, a work composed between 1673-83… and first published in 1707. This influential treatise contains the formulas, usually known as 'Newton's identities,' for the sums of the powers of the roots of a polynomial equation… Despite his own contributions to the subject of algebra, Newton seems to have preferred the geometric analysis of the ancients. Consequently, the longest section in the Arithmetica universalis is that on the resolution of geometric questions" (Boyer, 412-13). While Arithmetica universalis "became one of the most popular textbooks of its kind and remained so throughout much of the 18th century" (Christianson, 468), Newton initially opposed its publication. The collection was independently compiled and edited by Newton's disciple and successor at Cambridge, William Whiston; only later, and reluctantly, did Newton agree to its seeing print. How Newton's notes came into Whiston's possession remains unclear, though the preface justifies his thankless endeavor to make public "so noble and useful a Work… doom'd to College-Confinement." With decorative woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. Text in Latin. Babson 201. Wallis 283. Gray 283. Lowndes, 1674. Early underlining and marginal notes, early owner notes tipped in to front free endpaper.
Text quite clean, attractive binding lovingly restored.