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St John's College MS O.85

Henry Wrigley, A course of mechanical lectures. English and Latin, c. 1722-9.


'A course of mechanical lectures by Mr Wrighley Fellow of St John's College Cambridge.' The author is presumably Henry Wrigley who was admitted to St John's in 1715, graduated BA in 1718-9, took his MA in 1722, served as a fellow of the college 1722-45, and proceeded to the BD degree in 1729. The manner in which Wrigley is referred to on the title page suggests a date for these lectures after his election to the fellowship and before his taking the BD degree i.e. 1722-9. Many of the lectures are attributed, in a different hand to that of the main text, to ‘Sanderson’ and this is presumably Nicholas Saunderson (1682-1739). Saunderson was Lucasian professor of mathematics from 1711 until his death and was an excellent teacher. ‘Notes taken by students from his lectures are extant in several university libraries, and in his time they also circulated outside Cambridge’ (see ODNB).


  1. 'Places referr'd to on several of the articles.' Gives references to Jacques Rohault, Newton's Principia, John Keill's Introductio ad veram physicam, John Locke, Francis Hauksbee's Physico-mechanical experiments, and George Cheyne. (pp. ii, iv)
  2. 'Of natural philosophy.' 136 numbered paragraphs, with some diagrams, dealing with matter, motion, elasticity, gravity, attraction, and cohesion. Prefixed with a list of contents. (pp. iii, v-viii, 1-69)
  3. 'Opticks.' List of contents followed by 161 numbered paragraphs, with some diagrams. (pp. 71-112)
  4. 'Motuum caelestium explicatio physica.' Latin text with some diagrams. (pp. 113-125)
  5. 'Hydrostatics.' 73 numbered paragraphs, with some diagrams. (20 unnumbered pages)
  6. 'Rules for determining ye velocities of hard & elastic bodies after impaction.' Notes with diagrams. (3 unnumbered pages)
  7. Notes on winds, the barometer, vegetation, aurora borealis, the moon, telescopes, and the earth. Drawn from Miscellanea curiosa, Nicholas Saunderson's 'Hydrostatics', George Cheyne's Philosophical principles, and Henry Pemberton's View of Sir Isaac Newton's philosophy, and with references to Halley, Newton and Hauksbee. With some diagrams. (22 unnumbered pages)
  8. 'Mechanicks.' 113 numbered paragraphs. The text is attributed to 'Professor Sanderson' i.e. Nicholas Saunderson. (pp. 1-23)
  9. 'Hydrostaticks.' 85 numbered paragraphs. Attributed to Saunderson. (pp. 24-41)
  10. 'Of sounds.' 32 numbered paragraphs. Attributed to Saunderson. (pp. 42-48)
  11. 'Of heat & cold.' 17 numbered paragraphs. (pp. 49-52)
  12. 'The doctrine of ye rainbow.' 8 numbered paragraphs. Attributed to Saunderson. (pp. 53-4)
  13. 'The prolateness of the earth.' 11 numbered paragraphs. (pp. 55-6)
  14. 'Opticks.' 113 numbered paragraphs. Attributed to Saunderson. (pp. 57-81)
  15. 'Astronomy.' 116 numbered paragraphs. Attributed to Saunderson. (pp. 83-112)
  16. Notes on hydrostatics, microscopes and telescopes, some attributed to Saunderson. (pp. 113-20)
  17. 'A compendium of technical chronology.' 28 numbered paragraphs. (pp. 121-7)
  18. 'The theory of the tides.' Notes with some diagrams. Attributed to Saunderson. (pp. 129-41)
  19. 'Newtoni de iride sententia.' Latin notes with diagram. (pp. 142-4)
  20. Five fold-out diagrams, very neatly drawn, relating to optics, mechanics and astronomy.
Supplementary information 

205 x 160mm. 327 pages + some blanks. Paper. Single neat hand throughout. Binding: 18th-century blind-tooled calf over boards; rebacked and repaired by David Yates of J.P. Gray & Son, April 1973 (pencil note inside back board).

Given by Francis Puryer White (1893-1969) in 1945 (book label). St John’s College bookplate of 1937 pasted inside front board.