Antonio Magliabechi wrote Letter L-219 of 1692-06-24 to Leeuwenhoek about recent books that he thought might be of interest by Ramazzini and Guiglielmini

June 24, 1692

No manuscript is known.

In this excerpt from his letter, Antonio Magliabechi reports on several recent books that he thought might be of interest to Leeuwenhoek. They were written in Latin and Italian by the Italians Bernardino Ramazzini and Domenico Guglielmini.

The translation as printed here is that of editor Pieter Rabus’s complete article in De Boekzaal van Europe, which after this first appearance regularly published “Italiaansch Boeknieuws”, excerpts from letters by Magliabechi. Here, Rabus puts Magliabechi’s words in quotation marks and provides his own sometimes loose translations of the Latin titles. The text below preserves the inconsistent spellings of the original.

This letter is the first of the thirteen letters with book news published in twelve Boekzaal articles from March 1693 to October 1699. Another letter was published in 1701 in Twee-maandelijke uittreksels, the journal that Rabus started after he and Boekzaal publisher Pieter vander Slaart parted ways. Finally, Magliabechi wrote at least two more letters to L. with book news, Letter L-436 of some time after March 1705, and Letter L-465 of 10 July 1708, both lost. By then, Rabus had died, so they were never published.

The present letter from Magliabechi is not noted by L. in any letter, nor is it noted in the article by van Rijnberk, “De briefwisseling tusschen Leeuwenhoek and Magliabechi” (The correspondence between Leeuwenhoek and Magliabechi).


It was published under the title “Italiaansch Nieuws” in De Boekzaal van Europe, March and April 1693, pp. 331-34. – Dutch translation of part of the original Italian letter.


Italian News

As the printing of the Giornale de Letterati[1] [Journal of the Scholars] in Modena continues, in which is entered the abridgement of Mr Antony van Leeuwenhoek’s letter[2], written to the renowned Mr Antony Magliabchi[3] in Florence, and containing for a large part a treatise of the remarks recently published, mentioned by me in the Boekzaal of the last two months[4], viz., of the progeny of the beasts that are called the wolf, corn-worms, or calenders[5], as well as those of the eels[6], also of the salt of peppers[7], &c.; I cannot miss this opportunity (without mentioning how great and esteemed Mr * van Leeuwenhoek is in Italy) to translate here one of the letters, in which the aforementioned Magliabchi, writing to the same Leeuwenhoek, mentions some new writings, revealed to me out of his own hand.

* There called insigne Filosofo [a distinguished philosopher] and his discoveries prodigiosz ritrovati per via de microcopio [wonderful discoveries through the magnifying glass.]

Illmo e Doctissmo Sige, mio ​​Sige. &c.
Nel Giornale de Letterati che si Stampa a Modana &c.

That is:

“Very good, and most gracious sir, my lord, &c.

“In the Journal of the Scholars[8], which is being printed at Modena, there is inserted, on occasion, an extract of the most learned and distinguished letter which you were honored to write to me. Also I am sending Your Honor the printed sheet, enclosed here, deeming it will not displease Your Honor to see it for yourself. Wherewith, requesting the honor of Your Honor’s highly esteemed commands, salute her, with further confirmation that I am yours etc.”

One further.

Florence li 24 Gjuno 1692.

Il Sig. Ramazzini, Medico del Sermo Sig: duca di Modana, ha stampato un dotto trattato, De fontium Mutinensium admiranda scaturigine. ?? medisimo sig. Rammazzini ha anche dates in luce ?? sua Dissertazzione, the condition year 1691. ?? old Modenese. – pdf difficult to read


“Florence the 24th of June 1692.

“Mr. Rammazini[9], physician of the most illustrious dukes of Modena, has printed a learned treatise, Of the astonishing wellsprings of the wells in Modena. The same gentleman has also published his reasoning about the conditions of the year 1691 with the Modenese.

Still lower I read.

Il Sig. Guglielmini, Professor Primario delle Matematiche nello studio de Bolobna ha date in luce ?? sequential letters. Epistolae duae Hydrostatia.

Altera Apologetica adversus observationes contra Mensuram aquarum fluentium, a Clar. Viro Dion. Papino Factas, & Act. Eridit. Lipziae 1691. insertas. Altera de velocitate & motu fluidorum in siphonibus recurvis suchoribus. Delle due sue lettere il Dottissimp Sig. Guglielmi indirizza la prima al Sib. Liebniz, e la seconda, con mio rossore, a me.

Revmo ed Oblmo Ser: vero

Antoni Magliabechi.

As much as.

“Mr Guiljelmini[10], first professor of mathematics at the High School in Bologna, has put out the following two letters. Two Waterweigthological[11] letters. done by the renowned Sir Doin Papinum[12], and inserted in the journals of the scholars at Leipsig[13]. The other of the speed and movement of fluids in the throngs of suction tubes. Of these his two letters Mr. Guiljelmini writes the first to Mr Leibnitz[14], and the second, to my embarrassment, to me.”

(under stood)                                           Your most venerable and most obligated true servant

(And was signed)                                                                               Antoni Magliabechi.

We hope to bring something new by Mr Leeuwenhoek to the Boekzaal from time to time[15].


[1] Giornale de Letterati was published in Modena by Benedetto Bacchini from 1692 until 1698. Both Bernardino Rammazini and Domenico Guiljelmini were on the editorial board of Giornale de Letterati. Journals of the same title were published during the same time period in other Italian cities.

[2] The first monthly issue of Modena’s Giornale de Letterati had extracts from two of L.’s letters translated into Italian on pp. 27-30. Letter 115 L-210 of 18 September 1691 to Antonio Magliabechi, Collected Letters, vol. 8, discusses rust in cereals and repudiates theories of spontaneous generation. It was followed by the last part of Letter 40 [26] L-074 of 27 September 1678 to Nehemiah Grew, idem, vol. 2, about a parasitic growth on grass (grass-rust) affecting meadows outside Delft. This letter was not published in Philosophical Transactions and being one of the first 27 letters, it was not included in L.’s own publications, which begin with Letter 43 [28] L-080 of 25 April 1679, idem, vol. 3, also to Grew. The original manuscript is still in London, so a copy must have made its way to Modena. It has no figures.

[3] Antonio Magliabechi (1633-1714) was librarian to Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici of Tuscany. His previous letter to L. is Letter L-209 of 27 May 1691, in this volume, to which L. replied with Letter 115 L-210 of 18 September 1691, idem, vol. 8.

[4] In the Boekzaal for January and February 1693, pp. 6-13, Rabus reviewed L.’s recently published Derde vervolg der brieven (Third continuation of the letters), containing Letters 116 [68] L-212 of 27 November 1691 through Letter 123 [75] L-221 of 24 June 1692, Collected Letters, vols. 8 and 9.

[5] Letter 119 [71] L-216 of 7 March 1692 to the Royal Society, Collected Letters, vol. 8, discusses calendars, but an earlier letter, also to the Royal Society, has L.’s most detailed observations of that destructive worm. See Letter 102 [57] L-190 of 6 August 1687, idem, vol. 7, p. 5, n. 1.

[6] Letter 123 [75] L-221 of 16 September 1692, idem, vol. 8, discusses the reproduction of eels.

[7] Letter 118 [70] L-214 of 1 February 1692, ibidem, discusses pepper.

[8] Rabus’s literal translation of Giornale de Letterati.

[9] Bernardino Ramazzini (1633-1714) was an Italian who got his medical degree from the university in Parma in 1659 and in 1682 became a professor at the university in Modena. His most consequential writings improved the medical treatment of ordinary workers by detailing their health hazards and emphasizing prevention over curing. The first book that Magliabechi mentions here, De fontium Mutinensium admiranda scaturigine, was published in 1693 in Padua by Giovanni Battista Conzatti. The second book is De Constitutione annorum 1691 ac de rurali epidemia dissertatio (The conditions of 1691 and the rural epidemic), a series of annual reports that Ramazzini published from 1690 to 1694. The 1690 report is dedicated to Magliabechi, who mentions Ramazzini’s reports for 1692 through 1694 in Letter L-290 of 5 June 1696. See also Letter L-359 of 8 September 1699 and Letter L-381 of mid-1701, both in this volume.

[10] Domenico Guglielmini (1655-1710, also Guielmini, Guilielmini) was an Italian mathematician and physician whose municipal position as Bologna’s water administrator led to an interest in hydraulics and a 1694 appointment as professor of hydrometry at the University of Bologna. He was a member of Germany’s Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (German Academy of Natural Scientists) and, after 1696, England’s Royal Society. Magliabechi mentions other books by Guglielmini in Letter L-272 of 12 October 1695, Letter L-310 of 18 December 1696, and Letter L-322 of 1 June 1697, all in this volume.

[11] A literal translation of Rabus’s Waterwigtkundige, which is his translation of the Latin hydrostatia.

[12] Denis Papin (1647-1713) was a French physicist and mathematician who was a member of the Royal Society. He worked on vacuums with Christiaan Huygens and Gottfried Leibniz in Paris and Robert Boyle in London.

[13] The Acta Eruditorum was a Latin-language monthly first published in Leipzig in 1682 to provide announcements, abstracts, and excerpts from notable publications, especially new works, reviews, and short essays. Between 1682 and 1689, editor Otto Mencke published excerpts and summaries (as well as re-engravings of most of the figures) of 13 of L.’s letters written between 1680 and 1687 to Robert Hooke, Francis Aston, and members of the Royal Society. For details, see Anderson, Lens on Leeuwenhoek,

[14] For L.’s correspondent Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), see the Biog. Reg., Collected Letters, vol. 2, p. 461.

[15] This hope was realized with the publication of a short excerpt from L.’s Letter 127 L-229 of 27 October 1693 to Rabus (Collected Letters, vol. 9) in the Boekzaal for November and December 1693, pp. 554-55. Magliabechi’s next letter to L. is Letter L-238 of some time before March 1694, in this volume.