Anthonie Heinsius wrote Letter L-515 of 1715-02-28 to thank Leeuwenhoek for the letters sent by him over the years and expects that posterity will be grateful for what he has discovered

February 28, 1715

Heinsius thanks Leeuwenhoek for the letters sent by him over time and expects that posterity will be grateful for what he has discovered.

While Leeuwenhoek sent Heinsius many letters over the years and published many of them in Dutch and Latin, apparently Heinsius did not write to Leeuwenhoek as often.

This letter, written from Den Haag, is the only one that has survived. In it, Heinsius wrote "from time to time" in a context that indicated he had not responded to Leeuwenhoek's earlier letters. From the formal tone, it seems as though they were not close friends.


Draft letter. The manuscript can be found in the National Archive in The Hague, Archive of Anthonie Heinsius, access number. 3.01.19, inv. 1941.

A note by Heinsius in the margin: ‘Letter to Mr. Leeuwenhoek, 28 February 1715’.

translation from Alle de Brieven / Collected Letters, volume 17, p. 299

I have received your honourable letter from 11 January last month, with the attached documents. I thank Your honour for the generous wishes for the then commencing year, and wish Your honour all salvation and prosperity, and especially strength and good health in your high age and useful activities.

I have read the pieces mentioned before with attention, just as I have done with those that you have sent to me before from time to time. I have noticed in it, with great wonder, the excellent discoveries of Your honour in natural history, the untiring zeal that Your honour has used for this purpose, and the great advantage of this for the common good.

I thank Your honour for all the things that interest me and I have no doubt that the rational world will concur with me in this regard, and that posterity will be grateful to Your honour for this, with which ending I will stay.