Wrote letter of 1683-09-02 (AB 74) to Anthonie Heinsius

Date: 
September 2, 1683
Standard reference information
AB/CL number: 
74
AB/CL volume: 
4

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 one octavo page, written and signed by Leeuwenhoek, is preserved at the Rijksarchief (National Archive) in Den Haag (Inv. No. 13). The letter was not published during his lifetime.

The letter was a query letter to his old friend, to whom Leeuwenhoek had, six weeks earlier, sent a copy of Letter 38 of July 16, 1683, written to Christopher Wren:

I have no doubt but Your Excellency will have received my letter of 22 July and the accompanying copy of my observations and statements (sent to the Royal Society). As I have not heard from England how my observations and opinions have been received, and as for the last few years my mind has not been easy as regards my speculations and observations, I am the more anxious to know how you like them. Since I sent my last observations I have made two new discoveries which, I have no doubt, the world will hear with astonishment as soon as I shall publish them, which I am ready to do, waiting only for letters from England.

Leeuwenhoek revealed more to his Delft friend Heinsius than he would to the members of the Royal Society.

His doubts and insecurities:

... the last few years my mind has not been easy as regards my speculations and observations, I am the more anxious to know how you like them

His pride:

... two new discoveries which, I have no doubt, the world will hear with astonishment as soon as I shall publish them