Hans Sloane wrote Letter L-311 of 1696-12-18, as instructed by the Royal Society

December 18, 1696

This letter is known only by reference in other letters.

In this letter, Royal Society secretary Hans Sloane writes that the Royal Society has charged him to return to Leeuwenhoek the members’ courtesies.

The date is New Style, which was ten days ahead of the Old Style date of 8 December 1696 used by Sloane in London.

If not Letter L-284 of 17 February 1696 from someone at the Royal Society, probably Sloane, then the present letter begins the exchange of letters between Leeuwenhoek and Sloane. He was elected on 30 November 1693 to replace Thomas Gale as first secretary of the Royal Society. Sloane worked at first with Robert Waller and others on volume 18 of Philosophical Transactions. From volume 19 on, Sloane took sole editorial responsibility. He published 69 letters by Leeuwenhoek over the next twenty years in volumes 19 through 28, more than half of all of the letters by Leeuwenhoek published there.

Collected Letters has 16 letters from Leeuwenhoek to Sloane, the final one being Letter L-499 of 12 October 1713 in vol. 17.

Collected Letters also has three letters, there unnumbered, from Sloane to Leeuwenhoek: Letter L-369 of 8 June 1700, idem, vol. 13, there dated 28 May 1700 O.S.; Letter L-394 of 27 September 1701, idem, vol. 14, there dated 16 September 1701 O.S.; and Letter L-396 of 18 November 1701, ibidem, there dated 7 November 1701 O.S.

The present volume has 13 additional letters from Sloane to Leeuwenhoek, beginning with the present letter. In addition, five other letters from the Royal Society were probably written by him: Letter L-284 of 17 February 1696 and Letter L-440 of 10 November 1705, Letter L-453 of 3 June 1707, Letter L-460 of 4 November 1707, and Letter L-466 of some time before August 1708. Finally, Letter L-503 of 8 March 1714 was written by either Sloane or, more probably, Richard Waller.


Letter 182 L-315 of 19 February 1697 to Hans Sloane

I have duly received your very courteous and welcome letter of the 8th of December last, which the gentleman of the Royal Society had charged you to write to me. I am highly grateful and obliged for all the expressions of undeserved courtesies contained therein.

Letter 184 [108] L-318 of 5 April 1697 to the Royal Society

My latest very humble letter to you was one of the 19th of February last, in which I replied to your very welcome letter of the 8th of December of last year.