Wrote Letter 31 of 1680-05-13 (AB 60) to Thomas Gale

May 13, 1680
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Leeuwenhoek's summary

Where all the other letters had summaries of the contents, this one had:

Vervolg op het voorgaande. (Continuation of the foregoing.)

The summaries at the beginning of Vervolg der Brieven expand that a little:

Van het vervolg, ontrent het sap dat uyt de Wyngaard droop. (The continuation, about the sap that drips from a wine vine.)

The foregoing Letter 30 of April 5, 1680 (addressed to Robert Hooke not Thomas Gale) had observations of little animals in rats, mussels, and oysters. At the end, Leeuwenhoek began discussing:

Van levende Dierkens in het sap dat uit een Wyngaard-rank droop.

The living little animals in the sap that drips from a wine vine.

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, written and signed by Leeuwenhoek, is preserved along with both figures at the Royal Society (MS. 1881. L 1. 52.).

Leeuwenhoek dated three letters May 13, 1680, this one and two thank-you notes for his election as a fellow of the Royal Society.


In the text, Leeuwenhoek did not say who drew in red chalk the little living animals that he observed in wine vine sap. However, they are simple drawings well within his skills, so he no doubt drew them himself. In all of the Dutch and Latin editions, the same plate was inserted into the text next to the discussion of these little animals. The scan on the left sidebar is from the 1686 first edition of Levende Dierkens.