Lambert van Velthuysen wrote Letter L-086 to Leeuwenhoek about the chalky discharges from gouty skin and his well-known controversy with the conservative supporters of the House of Orange

June 1, 1679

This letter is known only by reference in L.’s replies. In them, Leeuwenhoek does not give a specific date for the letter he is replying to.

In this letter, Lambert van Velthuysen writes to L., returning what must have been copies of some of his letters. He asks L. to examine the chalky discharges from gouty skin. He also mentions his well-known controversy with the conservative supporters of the House of Orange.

“Contumely and insult” refers to the treatment of Van Velthuysen by the Orangists and the Reformed clergymen in Utrecht, where he had been a magistrate (schepen). Van Velthuysen supported the republicans and was well-known for his liberal religious publications.

Leeuwenhoek responded to Van Velthuysen’s request with Letter L-090 of 11 July 1679 about the tophi of a patient suffering from gout, in which Leeuwenhoek discovered needle-shaped crystals. See also Letter L-095 of 14 November 1679 to Van Velthuysen about the tophi of gouty patients and the causes of gout, in addition to the beneficial effects of drinking tea.


Letter L-088 of 13 June 1679 to Lambert van Velthuysen

I have received your kind letters together with my papers, from which I see the reasons why you have kept them so long. I did not want them, but only feared that they might not have reached you. ...

I am sorry to learn that you are one of those who have received nought but contumely and insult in reward of the cares, pains and work for the benefit of the community. But we must take the times into consideration, and I am wont to say that if we only try to do good, an honourable man has done well, whatever may be the course of events.

Letter L-090 of 11 July 1679 to Lambert van Velthuysen:

In your previous letter you ask me to examine the chalk which gouty persons have on their joints or which will break out.