Adriaen Verwer (1654/5-1717) and the first edition of Isaac Newton's Principia in the Dutch Republic.

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The Amsterdam-based merchant and mathematics enthusiast Adriaen Verwer (1654/5-1717) was one of the few in the Dutch Republic to respond to the first edition of Newton's Principia (1687). Based on a close study of his published work, his correspondence with the Scottish mathematician and astronomer David Gregory (1659-1708), and his annotations in his own copy of the first edition of the Principia, I shall scrutinize the impact of Newton's ideas on Verwer's thinking. The proposed analysis, which will add nuance to earlier findings, also has broader implications for our understanding of the introduction of Newton's ideas in the Dutch Republic, as will be shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-505
Number of pages27
JournalNotes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I am indebted to A. H. van der Laan at Rotterdam Central Library for helping me to locate Joachim Oudaen’s letter to Adriaen Verwer of 2 July 1683; to Joseph Marshall, Head of Special Collections and the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh, and his staff for kindly providing me with digital reproductions of material in their care; to Andrew M. A. Morris for commenting on an earlier version of this essay; to P. G. Hoftijzer and Marja Smolenaars for providing information on the distribution of the first edition of the Principia in the Dutch Republic; and to the two referees for this journal for their insightful comments. Research for this essay was funded by the Special Research Fund of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel under the form of a Research Professorship. This essay is dedicated to Jules-Henri Ducheyne, who was born when research for this essay was carried out.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).

Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Isaac Newton
  • Adriaen Verwer
  • David Gregory
  • Baruch de Spinoza
  • , early Dutch ‘Newtonianism’


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