As the letter shows Newton was deeply interested in the teaching of mathematics and modernising the curriculum. He was particularly keen to advance the study of practical navigation and to reap the benefits of new technology and innovation. As he wrote, "...For what seaman would have expected the inventions of sails, Anchors, Rudders, the compass & Gunpowder till they were found out..." .
Bonhams Head of Books and Manuscripts, Matthew Haley, said: “This newly discovered letter adds an important dimension to our knowledge of the relationship between these two giants of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Surprisingly few other pieces of correspondence between them are recorded, making this letter a real rarity. It also casts a fascinating light on the importance both men ascribed to the Mathematics school at Christ’s Hospital and its value to the nation as an incubator of highly skilled sailors, engineers, and architects. Newton, Pepys and fellow members of the Hospital’s Board were particularly exercised about finding the right master for the task, something that, as other letters from the time show, was proving a challenge.”