Nehemiah Grew wrote Letter L-071 of 1678-04-20 to Leeuwenhoek about his criticisms of Leeuwenhoek's work

April 20, 1678

This letter is known only by reference in other letters.

In this letter, Nehemiah Grew writes that he has showed Leeuwenhoek’s recent letters to his colleagues at the Royal Society. Grew’s criticism of Leeuwenhoek in his letter of 11 January was meant to stimulate his research. He continues that criticism by noting that Reinier de Graaf had seen female eggs in a fallopian tube.

The date is New Style, which was ten days ahead of the Old Style date of 10 April used by Grew in London.

Philosophical Transactions no. 137 does not contain any articles by L.

Grew’s previous letter to Leeuwenhoek is Letter L-066 of 11 January 1678, in this volume. It was written in Latin, so Leeuwenhoek must have had someone translate it for him because he replied with Letter L-070 of 18 March 1678, Collected Letters, vol. 2, in which he responds to Grew’s letter in detail.


Letter L-073 of 31 May 1678 to Nehemiah Grew:

I duly received your letter of April 10th, and the enclosed Transactions. No. 137, for which I offer you my kind thanks. I was glad to see from it, among other things, that you showed my letters to Lord Brouncker, the president, Mr. Robert Boyle and other gentlemen, for reasons which you state. And that the objections raised by you in a previous missive only aimed at inciting me to further and more reliable investigations. You may rest assured, sir, that any future objections will be welcome to me, and that I will own the mistakes made by me or likely to be made by me in future.

You say that Dr. de Graaf asserts to have seen one of the ova, recently escaped from the female testicle, in the tuba Fallopiana, and also the very place in the testicle that it had slipped from. I think, under correction, that it does not suffice that Dr. de Graaf avers to have seen this once, for I imagine that this must be generally the case after the copulation of animals, a matter which I suppose has been often investigated.

Letter L-074 of 27 September 1678 to Nehemiah Grew

In my previous letter of May 31st (in which I discourse on the vessels in semen, in hair and in bone and sent you figures of the same) I acknowledged receipt of your esteemed letter of April 10th, as also of Transaction Nr. 137. But having received no answer since that time I imagine that my letter and figures got lost.