Wrote Letter L-100 of 1680-02-13 to Robert Hooke that being elected a member of the Royal Society would be an honour

February 13, 1680
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Leeuwenhoek's number: 
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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 two quarto pages, written and signed by Leeuwenhoek, is preserved at the Royal Society (MS. 1879. L 1. 50.).

Leeuwenhoek wrote this short but formal letter to reply to Hooke's inquiry dated 23 January asking Leeuwenhoek whether he would appreciate being proposed for election as a fellow of the Royal Society.

First, he acknowledged Hooke's most recent letter, written on 23 January (2 February in Delft). He told Hooke of his plans to determine whether tree sap contained little animals. Then he came to the heart of the letter:

I also saw that you wonder that my name is not in the list of the Royal Society. Personally I have never thought of expecting this from Mr. Oldenburgh. If, during his lifetime, he had brought the matter up, I would gratefully have accepted the prospect. Seeing that an honourable mind should always consider an increase of honor important and that your offer to make me a fellow of your Society would confer on me the greatest honor in the world, I should be greatly obliged to you in case you could render me the service of procuring for me such a high distinction.

Leeuwenhoek was unaware that the Royal Society had elected him a member the previous Thursday, 8 February N.S. (29 January O.S.)

He ended by promising to soon send a letter with new observations and to thank Hooke for having sent him numbers of Philosophical Collections and a list of fellows of the Royal Society.