London: Printed for the author's children, 1748. 8vo. [xxviii], xx, 392 pp. FIRST EDITION. With subscriber's list, errata, and six folding engraved plates. Lacking the half-title and publisher’s ads. A handsome copy in contemporary half calf and marbled boards. Item #13308
First edition of this author's defense of the most controversial points of Newton's cosmology, as well as his theories of celestial motion and gravity. Published posthumously by subscription for the benefit of the author's family, this edition contains a biography of Maclaurin by Patrick Murdoch (d. 1744), still the primary source of biographical information on the author.
Maclaurin (1698-1746), a leading mathematician, natural philosopher, and friend of Newton who was appointed to his chair of mathematics at Edinburgh on Newton's recommendation, introduced a method of generating conics named in his honor. He is also renowned for his proof that a homogeneous liquid mass revolving uniformly around an axis under the action of gravity must assume an ellipsoid form of revolution.