Francis Aston wrote Letter L-146 to Leeuwenhoek about the importance of his work

March 7, 1684

No manuscript is known

The date is New Style, which was ten days ahead of the Old Style date of 26 February used by Aston in London. A copy of the letter is to be found in London, Royal Society, Letter Book Original 9.46, 2 pp. It has no salutation or signature.

Aston’s previous letter to Leeuwenhoek is Letter L-140 of 11 October 1683 in which he asks Leeuwenhoek to investigate the cicatricula of a chicken’s egg. Leeuwenhoek complied with that request in Letter L-143 of 26 October 1683. Aston did not reply before before he received Leeuwenhoek’s Letter L-144 of 28 December 1683 about about skin diseases, intestines, and the effects of vinegar.

Leeuwenhoek refers to the present letter in Letter L-147 of 14 April 1684, last known letter to Aston.

Your courteous and welcome letter of 26 February duly came to hand. I saw from it that you intend to send me the Transactions when they have been printed in December. I am looking forward to them and am much obliged to you for this.

Aston’s next letter to L. is Letter L-148 of 7 June 1684, in this volume, in which he acknowledges receipt of Letter 80 [41] L-147. Even though Aston acknowledged each of final five letters that L. sent to London before the end of Aston’s term as secretary, L. addressed them to the members of the Royal Society in general.


Letter Book Original volume 9 pp. 100v, 101

Mr. Aston to Mr. Leeuwenhoeck mentioning the Rec. of his 28 Dec. last & encouraging him to make Experiments &c.

I have received yours of the 28th of December last, but was long hindred from Answering by the Frost, which gave an unusuall interruption to commerce.

I am sorry to hear you mist of those Books, which I have enquired of, and find that they were sent with the usuall direction to Rotterdam. But you shall not be a looser, for as soon as the Transaction for December is printed, which I hope will be in a fortnight Ile send you to compleat the whole year. Mr. Boyle hath lately printed a Book called Memoirs for a Naturall History of Human blood. I will not fail to make your complements to him, for I have lately not been well. I shall be glad to hear from you, when ever you are at leasure. For I doubt not but the World hereafter will make very good use of the Stock and Treasure of Observations made with your Microscope, variety of Experiments and discoveries, being extreamly necessary to Philosophy, but Hypotheses and conclusions very uncertain, till such time as nature is fully discovered. And therefore our Society preferrs 4 Lines of matter of fact, written by yourself, or others, before a Volume of notions, which are only the work of the Brain. Gresham College London February 26th. 1683/4.