Antonio Magliabechi wrote Letter L-435 to Leeuwenhoek in early 1705 about reactions in Florence and Rome to his experiments with silver and diamonds

March 10, 1705

This letter is known only by reference in the English translation of a lost manuscript.

In this letter, Magliabechi told Leeuwenhoek that he is sending a book and that he showed Leeuwenhoek’s last letter about silver and diamonds to important religious and political people in Florence and Rome.

The letter about silver dissolved in aqua fortis, Letter 256 L-435 of 12 March 1705, Collected Letters, vol. 15, is L.’s last known letter to Magliabechi. Because L. generally responded promptly to Magliabechi’s letters, he was likely replying to a letter written to him early 1705.

It is not known what book Magliabechi sent to L.

It is possible that this letter was referred to by Magliabechi in a letter to Jacob Gronovius on 3 October 1704. At the end, Magliabechi wrote, “Included here, I send two of my letters to you begging you, reverently, for sure return. The one for Mr. Leeuwehoek, I send it to you but without sealing it, so that you can see the literary news. I sealed the other for Mr. Bayle, because it contains the same literary novelties that I wrote to Mr. Leeuwehoek. Again I pray to you to deign to send these two letters of mine, to these two gentlemen, safely.” Source: Ludwig Maximilians-Universiteit Munchen, Cod 4° Cod. Msc 777, f. 93. However, Letter L-452 does not mention any book news.

After Pieter Rabus died in 1702, L. had nowhere to send Magliabechi’s book news for publication, so any book news is lost.

Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) was a French philosopher, author, and lexicographer who lived and taught in Rotterdam after 1680. Gronovious, living in Leiden, would have easily been able to forward both letters, if not deliver them personally.


Letter L-452 of 17 May 1707 to John Chamberlayne

Signior Antony Magliabechi writes me from Florence, yt he is sending me a book, for ye wch I also returned him many thanks & besides my observations of silver dissolved in aqua fort. and how that in the aqua fortis thus impregnated with silver, some silver particles were coagulated again and became as transparent as glass being of a sharp and hexangular figure, like diamonds and I give him my reasons also, that diamonds never grow, but are coagulated in the beginning, and are at first of the same magnitude as when they are discover’d. The said gentleman has not only given my letter to be read by several at Florence, but sent it also to Rome, to be perused there by several prelates and nobles.