By Frank E. Manual
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Additional info for A portrait of Isaac Newton
H e who has time and tranquillity can by reading this book live again the wonderful events which the great Newton experienced in his young days. Nature to him was an open book, whose letters he could read without effort. The conceptions which he used to reduce the material of experience to order seemed to flow spontaneously from experience itself, from the beautiful experi ments which he ranged in order like playthings and describes with an affectionate wealth of detail. In one person he com bined the experimenter, the theorist, the mechanic and, not least, the artist in exposition.
In 1649, when he had just N turned six, a king of England was beheaded. Lincolnshire was an active theater of operations, and a youthful notebook testifies to his awareness of the military presence and his familiarity with con temporary theological and political controversies. W e can only guess at the terrors that events of the war in the countryside, the frequent raids and requisitions, may have aroused in him and in his mother. On May 13,1643, when Newton was about six months old, there was an engagement in the broad fields near Grantham, a mere ten miles from Woolsthorpe, between the Parliamentary forces and the 50 51 THE LAD FROM LINCOLNSHIRE Cavaliers.
But when he knows the way the wind is blowing, he too can jump and outleap them. There is no consensus about the length of Newton’s schooling at Grantham. Stukeley reckons a total of seven years, with a hiatus when his mother tried to make a “grazier” of him. Conduitt has him attending two little day schools at Skillington and Stoke until he was twelve, when he went to Grantham, was removed, and then re turned for only nine months prior to going up to the University in June 1661. If Newton was at Grantham leaping in the direction of the wind on the day Cromwell died he was there in 1658.
A portrait of Isaac Newton by Frank E. Manual