MC:P261/MS13 Account of the Visitation once owned by Sir Isaac Newton
An account of the Visitation of Magdalen College dated 13 June 1687. The manuscript formed part of a large collection of Isaac Newton’s manuscripts which were inherited by Catherine Barton, Newton’s niece, which, through a descendant’s marriage, ended up in the possession of the Earls of Portsmouth. The Earl of Portsmouth in 1936 was a member of the British Union of Fascists, and auctioned the Newton manuscripts to raise money for the movement. They were sold off in 329 separate lots, about half of which were acquired by John Maynard Keynes and given to King’s College Cambridge. MC:P261/MS13 was acquired by R. W. Chapman (Fellow 1931-47), presumably because of the Magdalen connection. It is not clear who wrote MS13. It had been thought to be in Newton’s hand, but Freeman Dyson’s review of James Gleick’s Isaac Newton [New York Review of Books, Vol. L no. 11 (3 July 2003)] suggests that a secretary, probably for Newton’s benefit, wrote it.
4 leaves containing:
(i) Account of proceedings against Magdalen College ‘Before ye Commissioners, Monday June 13th ’87.’
(ii) ‘The answer of ye vice president and other Fellows of St. Mary Magdalen Coll. in Oxford … why they did not obey his Maties Lettrs requiring you to elect and admit Mr. Anthony Farmer President.’
(iii) ‘Piece of a letter to ye E. of Sunderland’.
(iv) Another version of (ii) above.
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