Part of the ensuing Discourse about Light was written at the Desire of some Gentlemen of the Royal-Society, in the Year 1675, and then sent to their Secretary, and read at their Meetings, and the rest was added about twelve Years after to complete the Theory; except the third Book, and the last Proposition of the Second, which were since put together out of scatter'd Papers. To avoid being engaged in Disputes about these Matters, I have hitherto delayed the printing, and should still have delayed it, had not the Importunity of Friends prevailed upon me. If any other Papers writ on this Subject are got out of my Hands they are imperfect, and were perhaps written before I had tried all the Experiments here set down, and fully satisfied my self about the Laws of Refractions and Composition of Colours. I have here publish'd what I think proper to come abroad, wishing that it may not be translated into another Language without my Consent.
The Crowns of Colours, which sometimes appear about the Sun and Moon, I have endeavoured to give an Account of; but for want of sufficient Observations leave that Matter to be farther examined. The Subject of the Third Book I have also left imperfect, not having tried all the Experiments which I intended when I was about these Matters, nor repeated some of those which I did try, until I had satisfied my self about all their Circumstances. To communicate what I have tried, and leave the rest to others for farther Enquiry, is all my Design in publishing these Papers.
In a Letter written to Mr. Leibnitz in the year 1679, and published by Dr. Wallis, I mention'd a Method by which I had found some general Theorems about squaring Curvilinear Figures, or comparing them with the Conic Sections, or other the simplest Figures with which they may be compared.