Visited by De Saingermain, who later called Leeuwenhoek a "Magus"

December 1, 1685

Some time before Christmas 1685, a French physician and alchemist ruined by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in October 1685, visited Leeuwenhoek. On Christmas Day of that year, living in Amsterdam, he wrote about this visit to Robert Boyle in London. De Saingermain added,

You are sufficiently aware, Sir, that it is impossible for me ro return ro France. All our families are lost and ruined from top to bottom. One part of my relations are in prison, another part is fugitive and in hiding and is unable to escape due to the weight of years, as is the case for my father and my mother. ... I therefore consider myself to be forever exiled from his fatherland, if matters do not change. I can see no security, even for foreigners, while the Jesuitical horde tries daily to soak up every freedom.

De Saingermain told Boyle that he was setting up shop in Amsterdam as a physician. He then asked to borrow 500 florins from Boyle to buy medical equipment. There is no indication that Boyle ever responded.

Recounting his visit to Leeuwenhoek, De Saingermain noted that "the Magus penetrates everything masterfully".


Translation in Correspondence of Robert Boyle, v. 6. p. 142

Je n'ay pas Neglige non plus de voir LIllustre Microscopiste M. leuenhoek de Delphes qui m'a fair voir et Regarder des objets avec rous ses Microscopes quil perfectionne de jour en jour puisquil en fair de Nouveaux dont il n'a point encore parle, Effectivemenr Cela Est digne de route l'arrache quil y a pone. Jay Este fort content de me voir persuade de plus en plus de lExistence dune autre Nature Corporelle qui se Derobe a nos yeux Narurels er qui se laisse aprocher er Decouvrir a la faveur des moyens que LIndusrrie humaine Decouvre par degres. je pensois En voyant ces choses a cette Maxime de Cabale, Magus perlustrat omnia [Greek] et jen reconnoissois a minori ad majus Combien de choses grandes et admirables sont L'objet des yeux Magiques et philosophiques. Mr Leuenhoek en usa plus qu'a la Platonicienne, puisque Nous Saluames fort Respectueusement vostre Sante, et je me fis un grand honneur de luy faire part de lEtat de vostre bonne disposition.

Nor have I neglected to visit the famous microscopist Mr. Leeuwenhoek of Delft who showed me and allowed me to examine objects with all his microscopes, which he improves every day, and he is also making new ones of which he has not yet spoken. In truth, his instrument is worthy of all the interest which it has aroused. I was very happy to see myself increasingly convinced of the existence of another corporeal nature, which is hidden from our natural sight, and which it is possible to approach and discover with the help of the means which are gradually being discovered through human endeavour. I thought, when I saw these things, of the cabalist's maxim 'the Magus penetrates everything masterfully' and I recognised in it, moving from the lesser to the greater, how many great and admirable things are the object of masterful and philosophical eyes.' Mr Leeuwenhoek followed this more than the Platonic way. We then discussed your health most respectfully, and I had the great honour of telling him of your good health.