Francis Aston wrote Letter L-130 to Leeuwenhoek, thanking him for his recent letter and agreeing to admit two Dutch noblemen to a meeting of the Royal Society

August 27, 1683

This letter is known only by reference in other letters. The date is New Style, which was ten days ahead of the Old Style date of 17 August used by Aston in London.

In this letter, Francis Aston thanks L. for his recent letter and notes that it will be published in Philosophical Transactions. Aston agrees to L.’s request to admit two Dutch noblemen to a meeting of the Royal Society.

As Aston wrote, Leeuwenhoek’s Letter L-128 of 16 July 1683 was published in Philosophical Transactions, vol. 13, no. 152, dated 20 October 1683 and titled, “An abstract of a letter from Mr. Anthony Leeuwenhoeck of Delft about generation by an animalcule of the male seed. Animals in the seed of a frog. Some other observables in the parts of a frog. Digestion, and the motion of the blood in a feavor”.

For the letter from the two unidentified Dutch noblemen, see Letter L-131 of August or September 1683.

In Aston’s previous letter to Leeuwenhoek, Letter L-125 of 27 March 1683, to which Leeuwenhoek did not reply, Aston followed up on the Royal Society’s request in the present letter.

Leeuwenhoek replied to the present letter with Letter L-135 of 17 September 1683, in which he discussed, among other things, saliva from a variety of people and how he cleans his own teeth. He also described bacteria for the first time.


Letter L-134 of 16 September 1683 to Anthonie Heinsius

I also received a few days ago a letter from the secretary of the Royal Society in London thanking me on behalf of that Society for my latest observations. Among other things he says that they will be printed in the Philosophical Transactions that the world may share the knowledge of my progress in the discovery of that great mystery, the generation.

Letter L-135 of 17 September 1683 to Francis Aston

From your welcome letter of 17 August O.S. I see the gratitude of the Royal Society for my latest observations. I was glad to hear this and especially to read what you say about their going to be printed in the Philosophical Transactions because then the world may know how far I have proceeded in discovering the great secret of generation. For this I shall always be obliged to the Honourable College. I was also glad to hear that you offered to take the two noblemen whom I addressed to you, to a meeting of the R.S., merely for my sake. They ought to have accepted this great honour.

In a letter from London they write about this, saying that they had no other reason (for not accepting it) than the fact that they did not know English and thus feared to incommode the gentlemen.