Wrote Letter 48 of 1686-01-22 (AB 89) to Members of the Royal Society

January 22, 1686
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Leeuwenhoek's summary

From both editions of Cinnaber Naturalis and translated into Latin for all of the editions, some re-titled, of Anatomia Seu Interiora Rerum.

Ontledingen en Ontdekkingen, van de Cinnaber naturalis, dat in het selvige is Quikzilver, Oli en Zout; van het Bus-Poeder dat in een bestlooten glas is opgevlogen; Wat plaats het opgevolgen Bus-Poeder van nooden heeft; Wat figuur de opgevlogen Salpeter-deelen aannemen als die in rust komen: Dat een over-lang Kanon soo verre niet en schiet als het geene dat korter is; Datter lugt door het Bus-Poeder ende Kreeften-oogen gemaakt werd.

Dissections and discoveries, of cinnabar naturalis, that in the same is quicksilver, oil, and sout; of the gunpowder that was blown up in a closed glass; what room the blown-up gunpowder needed; what shape the blown-up saltpeter pieces took as they came to rest: that an over-long canon shoots not as far as that which is shorter; air that was made by gunpowder and crab's eyes.

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 twelve quarto pages, written by a copyist and signed by Leeuwenhoek, is preserved at the Royal Society (MS. 1908. L 1. 79).


The original drawings are lost. According to Alle de Brieven / Collected Letters, this letter was illustrated by three figures. In the manuscript, Leeuwenhoek numbered three plates and fifteen figures in them: No. 1 Figs. A-H, No., 2 Figs. I, K, and L, and No. 3 Figs. M, N, and O. They are treated here as three figures, as they appeared in scans from the 1686 first edition of Cinnaber Naturalis.

In the text, Leeuwenhoek does not say who drew them. They were well within his skills, so he probably drew them himself with red chalk.