Hans Sloane wrote Letter L-473 to introduce a visitor, Alexander Stuart, as a curious world traveler.

December 1, 1709

This letter is known only by reference in Leeuwenhoek’s reply.

In this letter, Hans Sloane writes to introduce a visitor, Alexander Stuart, as a curious world traveler.

Because Stuart visited L. on 2 January 1710, Sloane’s letter of introduction would have been written in late 1709. See his letter to Sloane of 4 January 1710, British Library, Sloane MS 4042, fol. 83. For a complete list of known visitors to L.’s house, see Appendix 16, in this volume.

The numbers of Philosophical Transactions that Stuart brought to L. were no. 315 of 1 June 1708 through no. 320 of 1 April 1709, all in volume 26. They contain excerpts from L.’s Letter 274 L-462 of 6 December 1707, Letter 275 L-463 of 1 January 1708, Letter 276 L-464 of 29 June 1708, Letter 277 L-467 of 28 August 1708, and Letter 278 L-458 of 9 October 1708, all in Collected Letters, vol. 16.

Stuart was a natural philosopher and physician from Aberdeen, Scotland. From 1708 to 1711, he studied medicine at Leiden University. After graduating from college, he traveled the world as a ship’s surgeon, corresponding with Hans Sloane and publishing several articles in Philosophical Transactions. In 1714, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. Stuart was one of the first visitors to view blood circulation through the newly developed eel viewer (aalkijker) that L. described later in Letter 282 L-474 of 14 January 1710, Collected Letters, vol. 16.

The two Scotch gentlemen who accompanied Stuart are not identified.


Letter L-474 of 14 January 1710 to the Royal Society

Through Mr Stuart I have received the six different Transactions, a present for which I am highly grateful, and I wish I may be able to be of some use to the very noble sirs.

Mr Hans Sloane in his missive recommends Mr Stuart to me as a gentleman with a thirst for knowledge, who has travelled through many countries, and I have civilly received the said gentleman and also two Scotch gentlemen accompanying him. And I will so receive all those who have a letter of recommendation from Mr. Sloane.