Hans Sloane wrote Letter L-374 to Leeuwenhoek about the three living larvae that he was sending

July 15, 1700

This letter is known only by reference in Leeuwenhoek’s reply.

In this letter, Sloane writes to Leeuwenhoek that he is forwarding three larvae from John Chamberlayne that came from a decayed tooth, presumably Chamberlayne’s. He also tells Leeuwenhoek that the Royal Society is sending him a book.

The date is New Style, which was eleven days ahead of the Old Style date of 4 July 1700 used by Sloane in London. At the meeting of the Royal Society on 10 July 1700:

Dr. Sloan read a letter wch he wrote to Mr Lewenhoek concerning the wormes taken from ye Teeth by Upton the operator desireing his opinion of ym &c.”

Sloane was referring to the worms mentioned at the previous meeting on 4 July (see Sir Hans Sloane’s secretarial minute books of Royal Society meetings, 1699-1702. Royal Society Manuscripts General, MS 557.2.3.)

A Letter from Mr John Chamberlaine was read, giveing an Acct: of one Upton an operator of Teeth who wth a tube made like a Trumpet & a small Candle wth which he brought small white wormes out of the Teeth; 2 of the wormes were likewise produced with the Letter by Dr Sloan.

In Letter L-392 of 2 August 1701, Leeuwenhoek wrote:

I received the undeserved presents, both the book dealing with fishes and the Transactions of the year 1700.

The book on fishes is not known, though in 1686, the Royal Society had presented L. with Willoughby’s De Historia Piscium (History of fishes). See Letter L-177 of 10 June 1686.

In the three and a half years since Sloane’s Letter L-311 of 18 December 1696, the only letter Leeuwenhoek had received from London was Robert Hooke’s Letter L-345 of 9 June 1698. The previous known letter from Sloane to Leeuwenhoek is Letter L-369 of 8 June 1700 (unnumbered in Collected Letters, vol. 13, and dated 28 May 1700 O.S.). Between that letter and the present letter, Leeuwenhoek sent three letters to Sloane, Letter L-360 of 1 September 1699, Letter L-364 of 2 January 1700, and Letter L-370 of 14 June 1700.


Letter L-375 of 27 July 1700 to Hans Sloane

I received your very welcome letter of the 4th of July old style on the 19th of this month new style, and having at once opened the piece of black silk lying in the letter, I found in it two dead and one living little larva, which you say were sent to you by Mr. Chamberlayne, with the request that you should send them to me, as having been got by fumigating out of a decayed tooth. ... You further say that the Royal Society has seen fit to order you to send to me a certain book that was printed some time ago, as soon as the engravings are completed; I will look forward to it with eagerness and gratitude.