Antoni Cink, Ursmer Narez, and Hendrik Jozef Rega, professors in Louvain, wrote Letter L-534 of 1716-05-24 to tell Leeuwenhoek how important they think his work is, well deserving of the accompanying honorary medal and laudatory poem

May 24, 1716
Collected Letters volume: 

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

In this letter, Cink, Narez, and Rega tell L. how important they think his work is, well deserving of the accompanying honorary medal and laudatory poem.

The three professors at Louvain University were Antoni Cink (1668-1742), professor of philosophy, Ursmer Narez (1678-1744), professor of medicine, and Hendrik Jozef Rega (1690-1754), professor of chemisty. This is the last known letter by any of these professors to Leeuwenhoek. The previous letter from Cink to Leeuwenhoek is Letter L-517 of 2 July 1715.

Leeuwenhoek wrote another two letters to Cink. Letter L-535 [XXV] discusses plant germination and saltpeter, as well as another rejection of spontaneous generation. In his final Letter L-553 [XXXVIII] of 6 July 1617, L. tells Cink about how two doctors treated his recent illnesses. Both doctors gave him saltpeter, and one mixed it with opium. Both of these letters are in L.’s Send-Brieven. There is no known reply from Cink.

The laudatory poem was written by Jan Gerard Kerkherdere (1677-1738), another professor at Louvain. Leeuwenhoek addressed Letter L-537 [XXVI] of 22 June 1716 to Kerkherdere.



Letter L-535 [XXV] of 12 June 1716 to Antoni Cink, Ursmer Narez and Hendrik Jozef Rega

Mr Gerard van Loon, barrister, has delivered to me an obliging letter of Your Honours, dated the 24th of May last, and a purse of gold cloth, within which a commemorative medal of silver rested in a little black case, one side of which showed my bust and the other side an emblem, the town of Delft in the distance.

Added to this, for further explanation and by way of dedication, was a certain laudatory poem in Latin, full of elegant phrases. However favourably the praise of me was mentioned there, a still greater praise is due to the erudition of the authors, extolling those merits of mine in a most accomplished manner. When I call to mind the eulogies expressed in the letter of Your Honours and in the laudatory poem, then I do not only blush from embarrassment, but several times my eyes become moist. This the more because my work, which I carried out during many years at a stretch, has not been done in order to gain by this the praise now lavished on me, but mostly through the passion of curiosity which, as I notice, resides in me more than in many other people. Besides this, having then discovered something which was noteworthy, I have felt it to be my duty to put down on paper what I had discovered so that it would become known to the educated world.

Now the outcome is that you, highly learned, greatly esteemed, and very famous gentlemen, have bestowed the said gifts on me, although undeserved.