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Preparation for reading Principia

These Directions from Mr Newton by his own hand were given to Richard Bentley in the summer of 1691.

Next after Euclid's Elements the Elements of ye Conic sections are to be understood. And for this end you may read either the first part of ye Elementa Curvarum of John De Witt, or De la Hire's late treatise of ye conick sections, or Dr Barrow's epitome of Apollonius.

For Algebra read first Barthin's introduction & then peruse such Problems as you will find scattered up & down in ye Commentaries on Cartes's Geometry & other Alegraical writings of Francis Schooten. I do not mean yt you should read over all those Commentaries, but only ye solutions of such Problems as you will here & there meet with. You may meet with De Witt's Elemenla curvarum & Bartholin's introduction bound up together wth Carte's Geometry & Schooten's commentaries.

For Astronomy read first ye short account of ye Copernican System in the end of Gassendus's Astronomy & then so much of Mercator's Astronomy as concerns ye same system & the new discoveries made in the heavens by Telescopes in the Appendix.

These are sufficient for understanding my book: but if you can procure Hugenius's Horologium oscillatorium, the perusal of that will make you much more ready.

At ye first perusal of my Book it's enough if you understand ye Propositions wth some of ye Demonstrations wch are easier then the rest. For when you understand ye easier they will afterwards give you light into ye harder. When you have read ye first 60 pages, pass on to ye 3d Book & when you see the design of that you may turn back to such Propositions as you shall have a desire to know, or peruse the whole in order if you think fit.


This is also printed with notes in Corres III p155. ``The first 60 pages'' of the first edition go as far as the end of Section III of Book I.
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