Jacob Gronovius wrote Letter L-179 to Leeuwenhoek about how his letters were received in Italy

July 11, 1686

This letter is known only by reference in another letter.

In this letter, Jacob Gronovius writes that Antonio Magliabechi, in letters to Gronovius, often mentions L. with respect and with expressions of courtesy.

Jacob Gronovius (1645-1716), professor of history and Greek in Leiden after 1679, corresponded with Magliabechi and occasionally passed letters from him to Leeuwenhoek. See Letter L-273 of 14 October 1695, Letter L-280 of 5 November 1695, Letter L-290 of 5 June 1696, Letter L-332 of late 1697 or early 1698, Letter L-436 of some time after March 1705, and Letter L-465 of 10 July 1708 for other letters that Magliabechi sent to Leeuwenhoek through Gronovius.

Sending someone an unsealed letter full of book news addressed to someone else was a way for Magliabechi to easily broaden his network. See Magliabechi’s Letter L-381 to L. of mid-1701 for another example.

On 24 June 1687, Magliabechi wrote to Gronovius: “… Le moyne, Grevio, Leeuwenhoeckio. Ad alcuni de’ detti signori scriverò la seguente settimana” (… Le Moine, Graevius, Leeuwenhoeck. I will write to some of these gentlemen the following week). Source: LMU Munchen, Cod 4° Cod. Msc 777, f. 8. If Magliabechi wrote that letter to Leeuwenhoek, it is lost because his next known letter to Leeuwenhoek is Letter L-209 of 27 May 1691.

Stephanus le Moine (1624-1689) was a French Reformed theologian and professor at Leiden University after 1673. Johann Georg Graevius (1632-1703) was a German classical scholar and critic.

In a 1934 article by Gerard Rijnberk, first president of the Leeuwenhoek Committee, titled “Leeuwenhoeck-Brieven: een oproep” (Leeuwenhoek Letters: a call), his list of missing Leeuwenhoek letters includes more than one from L. to Gronovius: “Bibliotheca Gronoviana, veiling bij Haak, Leiden 1785. Blz.13, no. 104 v. d. Cat.: Brieven van Leeuwenhoeck aan J. Gronovius” (Bibliotheca Gronoviana, auction by Haak, Leiden 1785, p. 13, no. 104 of the Cat.: Letters from Leeuwenhoek to J. Gronovius). These undated and lost letters were perhaps written by L. in response to some of the letters mentioned above that Gronovius forwarded from Magliabechi.


In Letter L-182 of 1686-10-30 to Magliabechi, Leeuwenhoek wrote,

The very learned Jacob Gronovius writes to me from Leiden, dated 11th July, that Your Honour has several times made mention of me in his letters, from Florence, and of the respect which you, most Ill., bears towards me, with further expressions of courtesy, for all of which honour that is done me, because of my modest work in discovering mysteries hitherto concealed.