Two Dutch noblemen wrote Letter L-131 some time in early September 1683 to Leeuwenhoek about the fear that kept them from attending a meeting of the Royal Society

September 1, 1683

This letter is known only by reference in another letter.

In this letter, two unnamed Dutch noblemen explain that they did not accept Leeuwenhoek’s invitation that they meet Francis Aston and attend a meeting of the Royal Society because they feared that their lack of English would inconvenience the members.

Leeuwenhoek often omitted the names of his visitors and correspondents, even when they were otherwise well known. These two noblemen may well be mentioned by name in other letters.


Letter L-135 of 17 September 1683 to Francis Aston

From your welcome letter of 17 August O.S. … I was also glad to hear that you offered to take the two noblemen whom I addressed to you, to a meeting of the R.S., merely for my sake. They ought to have accepted this great honour.

In a letter from London they write about this, saying that they had no other reason (for not accepting it) than the fact that they did not know English and thus feared to incommode the gentlemen