Antonio Magliabechi wrote Letter L-209 of 1691-05-27 to Leeuwenhoek about book news and Leibniz's reaction to some of Leeuwenhoek's observations

May 27, 1691

This letter is known only by reference in another letter.

In this letter, Magliabechi writes with what Leeuwenhoek calls “courtliness and gratitude” that the book Leeuwenhoek sent two years previously finally arrived. He also tells Leeuwenhoek that some of Leeuwenhoek’s observations that Magliabechi shared with Gottfried Leibniz satisfied him. Magliabechi also sends a booklet by Bernardino Ramazzini dedicated to Magliabechi and news of other books published recently in Italy.

During the 19 months between Letter L-206 of 1 April 1689 and Letter L-212 of 27 November 1691, both to the Royal Society, the only known letters that Leeuwenhoek wrote are Letter 207 of October 1689 to Christiaan Huygens and Letter L-210 of 18 September 1691 addressed to Magliabechi in reply to the present letter. The notes to Letter 115 L-210 speculate about which “little book” Leeuwenhoek sent, explain that Willem Blaeu translated Magliabechi’s letter into Dutch and Leeuwenhoek’s reply into Italian, and name Ramazzini’s treatise, De constitutione anni 1690, de epidemia quae Mutinensis agri et vicinarum regionum colonos graviter afflixit (The constitution of the year 1690, of the epidemic which severely damaged the colonists of Modena and the neighboring regions).

Pieter Rabus did not begin publishing Boekzaal van Europe until 1692, so this report by Magliabechi of new books published in Italy did not appear there, as did a dozen of Magliabechi’s later reports. Magliabechi would inform Leeuwenhoek about Ramazzini’s activities in later letters, Letter L-219 of 24 June 1692, Letter L-238 of before 2 March 1694, Letter L-275 of 23 October 1695, Letter L-290 of 5 June 1696, and Letter L-359 of 8 September 1699, all excerpted in Boekzaal, and Letter L-381 of mid-1701, excerpted in Twee Maandelijke Uittreksels.


Letter L-210 of 18 September 1691 to Antonio Magliabechi

Your Honour’s very welcome letter of the 27th of May reached me under the cover of the very reverend and most learned Father Papenbroek, whose most obliged servant I am, because of the courtesies he has shown me on different occasions. I have learned from your kind letter that my little book, after a period of more than two years, has at last come into Your Honour’s hands, and I saw to my great contentment that you have been pleased to accept it; that you have deigned to write to me in such particular terms of courtliness and gratitude that I blushed with shame, when I heard your above-mentioned honoured letter being read out to me. I meanwhile remain infinitely obliged to you for the said benevolent expressions. I then saw that Mr. Leibnitz had been satisfied with my simple observations. ...

I moreover declare myself infinitely obliged for the favour and the trouble taken by Your Honour in informing me of the treatises already published, and those that are expected. I see, among other things, that Mr. Ramazzini has dedicated to Your Honour a treatise, printed at Modena, and dealing with the situation in the year 1690, and of the communal adversities which have grievously afflicted the people of the country around Modena and of the neighbouring districts; because the nature of the black rust or smut in the corn, by spoiling the fruits and grains, did cause some food scarcity.