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Newton, Sir Isaac

Was Sir Isaac Newton a Mason? The question lies in the same case as that about Samuel Johnson (which see). There is in Cambridge an Isaac Newton Lodge, No. 859, but the fact does not prove Newton a Mason any more than the existence (at various times) of some three Shakespeare Lodges proves that Shakespeare was a Mason. There are, however, presuppositions in favor of his membership. Dr. J. T. Desaguliers was one of Newtons closest friends, so close that Newton stood godfather to Dr. Desaguliers' daughter; and Dr. Desaguliers at the time was the master builder of the new Grand Lodge system of Speculative Freemasonry.

The Royal Society was the apple of Newton's eye. Newton in turn was the leader, inspiration, and glory of the Royal Society; and the membership of the Royal Society was so wholly Masonic that six or ten of its members were in the same Lodge at the same time; the Society's club shared its rooms with a Lodge; furthermore, a few of the Lodges acted as extension centers for the Society at a time when it was not yet popularly recognized and was the butt of much newspaper ridicule, so that it meant not a little for Royal Society members to be able to deliver scientific lectures (even on mechanics) to Lodges. Newton was therefore in a Masonic circle. Also, one of the few of his papers published posthumously was an attempt to work out the dimensions of Solomon's Temple. He had his formula for gravitation held up for twenty y ears because he had forgotten that a French mile and an English mile were not the same length. His calculations on the Temple were held up even longer, forever in fact, because he found that four different cubits were in use as units of measure in Solomon's time, and he could nowhere discover which one had been used; nevertheless this interest in Solomon's Temple is significant. As against these presuppositions in favor of his having been a Mason stand two facts: no record of his membership has been found; Sir Isaac himself w as "not a clubbable man."

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