This is (in part) the celebrated principle of virtual velocities, now often described as the principle of virtual work, enunciated by John Bernoulli (1667-1748).
In 1697 John Bernoulli proposed the famous problem of the brachistochrone (see Mechanics), and it was proved by Leibnitz, Newton and several others that the cycloid was the required curve.
Colin Maclaurin (1698-1746) and John Bernoulli (1667-1748), who were of this opinion, resolved the problem by more direct methods, the one in his Fluxions, published in 1742, and the other in his Hydraulica nunc primum detecta, et demonstrata directe ex fundamentis pure mechanicis, which forms the fourth volume of his works.
Tschirnhausen were appointed on the 4th of February, James Bernoulli and John Bernoulli on the 14th of February, and Newton and Olaus Roemer on the 21st of February.
Newton's solution of the celebrated problems proposed by John Bernoulli and Leibnitz deserves mention among his mathematical works.
The method employed by Maclaurin has been thought not sufficiently rigorous; and that of John Bernoulli is, in the opinion of Lagrange, defective in clearness and precision.