Wrote Letter 52 of 1686-07-10 (AB 94) to Members of the Royal Society

July 10, 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.

Dat het Hout het welk in de Soomer gehakt werd, soo vast ende geslooten is, als het gene dat in de Winter gehouwen werd: hoe en waar aan men de deugdsaamheid van het Hout kan bekennen, en uit wat oorzaak het Hout een schielijke bedervinge onderworpen is; ende in wat Landen het beste Eyken-Hout wast.

That the wood which was chopped in summer, was so firm and closed as that which was hewn in winter: how and where the soundness of the wood can be seen, and from what origin the wood is swiftly subject to decay; and in what countries the best oak wood grows.

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. 1915. L 2. 6.


Two of the three red-chalk drawings are preserved at the Royal Society. The scans on the sidebars came from the 1708 third edition of Arcana Naturae Microscopiorum.

In the text, Leeuwenhoek noted that he had them drawn by someone.

I had a drawing made of a small piece of oak, as the same, on its end, presented itself to the naked eye after being planed smooth; as fig.: 1.

In order to show the difference in the oak brought hither from the Baltic Countries, from Koenigsberg and Riga, I have had a piece of that wood drawn. Fig: 2.

Now in order to demonstrate the structure of Pine, I have thought fit to have a drawing made of a very small piece of Wood.

He discussed Fig. 1 at the beginning of the letter and again at the end. In all of the Dutch and Latin editions, Fig. 1 was reprinted within sight of the second discussion.