Promised to pay five gulden for the ransom of a neighbor's son from Algerian pirates

December 31, 1693

In 1693, Leeuwenhoek wrote a note in and signed the inscription book that Lijsbeth Noortbergen was circulating to raise money to pay for the ransom of her son Anthonij. The young man had been captured by pirates off the Barbary Coast and sold into slavery. On the chance that a ransom agreement could be made, Anthonij's mother wanted to be able to pay it.

Leeuwenhoek wrote:

Belove ter Saake als vooren te betalen vijf guldens den 31:Xmb, 1693

den 28 Augustij 1697 betaalt

Promise in the case of the above-named to pay five gulden on 31 December 1693

on 28 August 1697 paid

By 1697, the negotiating process had advanced enough that the mayors authorized Lijsbeth to collect the promised money. Leeuwenhoek and others contributed about 750 gulden, which Lijsbeth gave to the city secretary for safe keeping. As the story in the Delft newpaper linked below explains, by 1702, word reached Delft that Anthonij Noortbergen had died. The collected money was returned to those who donated it. Some of the people who had paid the money chose to give the money to Lijsbeth. Apparently, Leeuwenhoek did not.

Some of the people who signed the book were relatives of Leeuwenhoek. Adriaen Leeuwenhoek, the notary, (Leeuwenhoek's cousin Lambert's son) promised two gulden. Cornelis Haaxman, husband of Leeuwenhoek's niece Maria Jans de Molijn, promised two guldens. Geertruij de Molijn, the daughter of Leeuwenhoek's sister Margriete, promised four gulden. Geertruij's brother Antonij promised three gulden three stuivers. Arnold Ramp, Leeuwenhoek's colleague at the Stadhuis, also promised three gulden three stuivers.

The archive has a loose note from Ramp dated 1702-02-01 authorizing the city secretary to give Ramp's contribution to the hostage's mother Lijsbeth. A couple dozen similar notes resulted in her getting almost 200 gulden.