James Jurin wrote Letter L-575 asking Leeuwenhoek to send Latin translations of his letters and passing along Hans Sloane's request for Leeuwenhoek to investigate smallpox pustules for insects

May 26, 1722
Collected Letters volume: 

The date is New Style, which was eleven days ahead of the Old Style date of 15 May used by Jurin in London.

In this letter, James Jurin thanked Leeuwenhoek for his two last letters. He asked Leeuwenhoek to translate his letters into Latin because many of the letters he had sent in Dutch remained untranslated during the editorship of his predecessor, Edmond Halley. Jurin stated that he was translating these earlier letters. He passed along the request of Hans Sloane for Leeuwenhoek to investigate smallpox pustules for traces of insects.


Wellcome MS 6143

Crane Court, London
May 15th 1722

I have safely rec’d your two last Letters to ye Royal Society of ye 21st of April' & ye 1st of this Month, wth that you did me ye honour to address to me of this last date, & for wch great favour I return you my most humble thanks. The former of these I translated into English & read some days ago at a meeting of ye Society, who have order'd their thanks to be given you for ye curious Observations therein contain'd. That of ye Magnetick Virtue acquir'd by ye Iron of your Church Crop, is agreeable to, & confirms, ye Observations formerly made in England & other parts upon ye like Subjects. I shall get your last Letter translated wth all convenient Expedition; but here give me leave, Good Sir, to mention a thing to you, wch I should by no means give you ye trouble of, if it did not much more relate to your own Honour & Reputation, as well as ye advantage of those yt read your Works as publish'd in ye Transactions than to any Ease or convenience of my own.

When ye Society did me ye honour to elect me one of their Secretaries some Months ago, among other Papers deliver'd up to me by my Learned Predecessor Dr Halley, I met wth several of your Letters to ye Royal Society, wch had never been translated for their use, & wch consequently they had had no account of. This I suppose, had arisen from ye difficulty of finding proper Persons to translate them; for, tho' we have great numbers of Persons here yt understand ye Dutch language yet ye Subjects you write upon, are so curious, & so much out of ye way of ye generality of Mankind both on account of ye matter it self & ye terms made use of, that there are very few Persons capable of translating them. It happens indeed, yt I have some smattering of ye Dutch Language, having been formerly in Holland, & likewise some litte of ye Subjects treated of, wch I have chiefly reaped from ye perusal of your works, so that wrh ye help of a Dictionary I can, tho' with a great deal of difficulty collect your meaning. But what concerns me most, is neither ye Labour it costs me, nor ye time I bestow in translating your Letters. I should think them both exceedingly well employ'd, if I could be sure of allways arriving at ye true sense & meaning of your writings. But ye casual mistake of a single Letter, ye omission or misplacing of a word, & such like accidents wch in an ordinary Letter would be of no manner of consequence, yet in treating of a curious & uncommon subject may easily mislead a Translator, especially one who is often obliged to have recourse to a Dictionary as I am.

For this reason I beg leave, Sir to propose to you, whether it be not ye better & surer way for preventing all mistakes, to cause your Letters to be translated into Latin before they are sent over hither. I observe this is allways done afterwards, & it might be done at first wth as little trouble. In this case a Translator in Holland has very much ye advantage of one in England, because, besides his being perfectly Master of ye Language your Observations are writ in, he has ye opportunity of consulting you upon any difficulty, & thereby is sure of taking your true Sense. But this is humbly submitted to your own judgement & determination.

At a late meeting of ye Society, our Vice-President, Sr Hans Sloan, desired that I would request of you to examine into ye truth of an Observation formerly made by Dr Bonomo, & publish'd in ye Phil. Transactions No 283 concerning Insects found in ye little Bladders of People troubled wth ye Itch, as likewise yt you will at your leisure, as Opportunity may offer, be pleas'd to observe, whether any Insects are to be found in ye Pustules of those that are ill of ye Small Pox, as some Persons have imagined. The method of inocu- lating y" Small Pox, wch has hitherto been practiced here wth great success, except in one instance only, has occasion'd Peoples' turning their thoughts more particularly to ye manner of propagation of that Distemper, wch is the cause of this Enquiry. As for what you mention in your Letter to me about Eels & Shrimps, I very much question whether any of our Virtuosi here are capable of corroborating what you have asserted, by any Observations they have made upon those Animals. I shall however make what Enquiry I can for your satisfaction, & am, Worthy Sir,

Your most obliged humble Servant
J. Jurin

P.S. I am very sorry you have been put to so much trouble about ye Volume of Transactions, wch was sent you by order of ye Society. Our Printer, Mr. Innys who had ye care of sending you all ye preceding Volumes, sent away this last together wrh my Letter. What miscarriage has happen'd I know not, however he has now dispatched another to you wch I hope you will have receiv'd by that time this Letter comes to your hands.

Some days ago I met with an old Acquaintance and Friend of yours, Mr John Chamberlayne, who, hearing I design'd suddenly to do my self this honour of writing to you, desir'd me to present to you his most humble Service.