Wrote letter of 1680-02-13 (AB 56) to Robert Hooke

Date: 
February 13, 1680
Standard reference information
Cole's number: 
29b
AB/CL number: 
56
AB/CL volume: 
3

Text of the letter in the original Dutch and in English translation from Alle de Brieven. The Collected Letters at the DBNL - De Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren.

The original manuscript on two quarto pages, written and signed by Leeuwenhoek, is preserved at the Royal Society (MS. 1879. L 1. 50.).


Leeuwenhoek wrote this short but formal letter to reply to Hooke's inquiry dated January 23 asking Leeuwenhoek whether he would appreciate being proposed for election as a fellow of the Royal Society.

First, he acknowledged Hooke's most recent letter, written on January 23 (February 2 in Delft). He told Hooke of his plans to determine whether tree sap contained little animals. Then he came to the heart of the letter:

I also saw that you wonder that my name is not in the list of the Royal Society. Personally I have never thought of expecting this from Mr. Oldenburgh. If, during his lifetime, he had brought the matter up, I would gratefully have accepted the prospect. Seeing that an honourable mind should always consider an increase of honor important and that your offer to make me a fellow of your Society would confer on me the greatest honor in the world, I should be greatly obliged to you in case you could render me the service of procuring for me such a high distinction.

He ended by promising to soon send a letter with new observations and to thank Hooke for having sent him numbers of Philosophical Collections and a list of fellows of the Royal Society.