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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0102 • Johan Frederik Gronovius to Carl Linnaeus, 10 October 1736 n.s.
Dated 10 Oct. 1736. Sent from Leiden (Netherlands) to Hartecamp (Netherlands). Written in Latin.

Vir Doctissime

Accepi Epistolas Vestras in quibus de erratis quoad Numeros in Equiseto, Osmunda me certiorem fecisti;[1] quos proinde mutavi, ut hinc Sigesbeckia constituat numerum 882, qui claudit istos characteres quos ad me misisti, quique mihi perlegendo tres dies abstulerunt; verum juvat laborem promptitudo vestra, qua ad dubia et hallucinationes tam opportune respondes.

Interim confeci ex iis sat amplum hallucinationum catalogum, ad quas in tempore respondere digneris. Verum mira sunt quae scribis de Mangas, quam ego communicavi cum BurmannoBurman, Johannes (1707-1779).
Dutch. Botanist, professor of medicine
in Amsterdam. Close friend of Linnaeus.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. plantam quam cum eo communicavi esse illam quae in hort. mal. I, tab. 39 Odalla vocatur,[2] certissime persuasus sum, eaque est ista quam Tu Cerberam inscripsisti in Characteribus Tuis num. 178 et quam Tavarcare vocare [sic][a][a] : <imp>[imo vocat] PetiverPetiver, James (c.1663-1718).
British. Apothecary. Collector of
natural history specimens. His herbarium
contained more than 5000 items.
gazoph. tab. 16, fig. 4[3] et cujus FreyerFreyer, Johannes (16?-16?).
German. Traveller.
in itinerario optimam praebet iconem edit[ione] belg[ica] p. 180.[4] Et neque dubito quin haec sit eadem planta de qua me semel rogasti, sc[ilicet] venenata quadam, quae tunc temporis non incidebat in memoriam. Si hanc habeat sub nomine Ghonkadurum Zeylonensium, bene agit Burmannus, alioquin male, neque ullam habet aliam sub hoc nomine a me, nam neque ipse habui.[5] Et haec quantum novi, solummodo crescit in India Orientali. Adeo ut illa planta sub eodem nomine quam florentem vidisti in Horto Chelseiano debeat longe alia esse planta et plane diversissima, quam forte describis in Characteribus vestris sub num. 386.[6]

Tamen gratias ago quod me de his moneas, certissime persuasus quod p[rofessor] ille nomina confundat. Nunc Indicem in Characteres vestros paratum habeo, et quidem eodem modo quo conspicitur in Indice BoerhavijBoerhaave, Herman (1668-1738).
Dutch. Professor of medicine, botany and
chemistry at Leiden. One of the most
influential professors of medicine of
the eighteenth century. Linnaeus visited
him during his stay in Holland.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
[7] , nempe ut nomina generica Romano tradantur charactere, synonyma vero literis cursivis tradantur, quae methodus mihi optima videtur, ut evitetur taedium evolvendi duos indices. Verum et in opere vestro adhuc tertius requiri videtur indiculus nempe eorum generum et interdum specierum, de quibus quandoque in Observationibus Vestris doctissime disseris. Numerus eorum est valde parvus et usque ad Cliffortiam vix 70 occurrunt nomina, quae etiam eodem[b][b] : <imp>[indi- ante
eodem del. Gronovius]
indice contineri vellem, tamen ita ut haec parvulo asterisco notarentur, et ante indicem moneretur Lector quod literae Romanae Nomen genericum, cursiva synonymum, asterisco autem notatae Genera quaedam et species in Observationibus allegatas significent. D[omin]us LawsonLawson, Isaac (?-1747).
British. Scottish botanist and
physician. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
mecum eandem sententiam fovet. Tu, mi Linnaeae [sic] poteris rem perpendere, et consilium Vestrum mihi significare.

Interim si quae addenda restant, poteris in ordinem redigere, et praefationem componere.[8] Si quoque quaedam alia sint quae in hoc opusculo Tuam in gratiam peragere potero, Lubentissimus ero, modo me in tempore moneas. Si indicem Auctorum operi praefigendum necessarium censeas, facile conficiam, licet auctores ibi citati notissimi sint; sufficiatque Te allegasse Tabularum numeros non paginarum.[9]

Heri quoque novam phyliram corrigendam suscepi quae partem Cryptogamiae continet, quam classem videris festinantissime scripsisse, idcirco phyliram istam semel modo revisam tibi examinandam desidero, quam poteris crastino mane remittere cum navi quae ex Harlemo Leydam petit et circa horam septimam matutinam erit prope Musarium vel ut melius loquar Thessalicam Tempen Cliffortiam,[10] cujus omnes characteres egregie descriptos videbis in Aeliani varia hist[oria] modo pro Nymphis intellige plantas, quae Nymphis imaginariis longe praestent.[11]

Miracula naturalissima et artificialia simul perficiunt Surinamenses sequioris sexus. Ante annum erat quaedam Leyderdorpae quae die Saturni pro virgine habita sequenti die colica corripiebatur, quae illam ilico matrem reddidit, et eadem die ad Sacra matrimonij coegit. Hocce tempore est quaedam de optima familia quae per 10 annos vidua, lumborum extensione fatigatur; optima sane mulier, sed de ea fama est quod cum Apro Ceasio [sic] (in cujus vicinia mensibus aestivis habitabat) ejusque honestissimo consortio familiaritatem coluerit.

Vale

10 Oct[obris] 1736

J[ohannes] F[redericus] G[ronovius]

[address] Address: Mijn Heer / Mijn Heer Carolus Linnaeus M[edicinae] D[octor] / op de Hartecamp / Met de schuyt van half een van Leyden den 20 [?] Octob[er] / vragt betaalt.

upSUMMARY

Instructed by Linnaeus, Johan Frederik Gronovius has corrected the number to be attached to the genus Osmunda. This is only one of the problems and “hallucinations” Gronovius has come across while reading through the fascicle of genera Linaeus has sent him. Gronovius’s time-consuming work is greatly supported by Linnaeus’s prompt replies to his letters.

Next, Gronovius embarks upon a discussion of a plant he has communicated to Burmannus and which Linnaeus in his letter indicates as mangas. Referring to the Hortus Malabaricus, Jacob Petiver’s Gazophylacium, Johannes Freyer’s Negenjaarige Reyse door Oost-Indien en Persien, and Linnaeus’s own Genera plantarum, Gronovius corrects Linnaeus’s apparently erroneous identification of the plant. According to Gronovius, the mistake was due to a confusion of names.

Gronovius proposes to make the index to the Genera plantarum according to Herman Boerhaave’s method: Roman characters will indicate generic names, while synonyms will be rendered in italic. Gronovius suggests to complete the index by using a small asterisk to indicate those genera and species which are referred to by Linnaeus in his observations. Linnaeus is asked to consider this proposal, which has been approved by Isaac Lawson. Meanwhile, Linnaeus is invited to compose the preface to the Genera plantarum and arrange whatever needs to be added to the work. Gronovius expresses his willingness to undertake some other work, as long as he is warned in time. Among other things, he is prepared to make an index of authors quoted in the Genera plantarum, if Linnaeus thinks it is necessary to do so.

The day before, Gronovius has been correcting the proofs of a new sheet containing a part of the Cryptogamia. As Linnaeus appears to have composed this class of plants very hastily, Gronovius wants him to examine the proofs which are to be sent back tomorrow.

To conclude with, Gronovius relates two miraculous stories involving Surinams living in the neighbourhood of Leiden. A Surinamese girl believed to be a virgin suddenly gets pregnant by having colic. Another woman, who has been a widow for ten years and is suffering from the loins is reported to have been living together with a boar.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, V, 399-400). [1] [2] [3]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
<imp>[imo vocat]
b.
<imp>[indi- ante eodem del. Gronovius]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
On the number to be attached to osmunda, see the list of problems added to Gronovius’s letter of 7 October 1736 n.s.Letter L0104.
2.
Rheede van Draakenstein & Casearius, Hortus Malabaricus , f. 71, fig. 39.
3.
Petiver, Gazophylacii naturae & artis decas primaPetiver, James Gazophylacii
naturae & artis decas prima

(London,1702)
, tab. 16, no. 4, p. 24. In Petiver’s work, the plant is called tavaracare instead of tavarcare. The plant is associated with manga as described by RayRay, John (1627-1705).
British. Naturalist and clergyman. One
of the most influential botanists before
Linnaeus.
in his Historia plantarumRay, John Historia plantarum;
species hactenus editas aliasque insuper
multas noviter inventas & descriptas
complectens. In qua agitur primo de
plantis in genere, earumque partibus,
accidentibus & differentiis; deinde
genera omnia tum summa tum subalterna ad
species usque infimas, notis suis certis
& characteristicis definita, methodo
naturae vestigiis insistente
disponuntur
, I-III (London
1686-1704).
and with odalla described in the Hortus Malabaricus.
4.
Reference to Freyer, Negenjaarige Reyse , p. 180.
5.
Burman, Thesaurus ZeylanicusBurman, Johannes Thesaurus
Zeylanicus, exhibens plantas in insula
Zeylana nascentes [...] Cura &
studio Joannis Burmanni
(Amsterdam
1737).
, p. 151-152. Burman’s description of manghas closely follows the identification proposed by Gronovius in his letter. It is said to be called ghonkaduru by the inhabitants of Ceylon.
6.
Genera plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Genera
plantarum eorumque characteres naturales
secundum numerum, figuram, situm &
proportionem omnium fructificationis
partium
(Leiden 1737). Soulsby no.
284.
, no. 386 gives a description of the genus rhizophora. The discussion on manga is continued by Gronovius in his letter of 27 November 1736 n.s.Letter L0109.
7.
Gronovius is referring to Boerhaave’s Index alter plantarumBoerhaave, Herman Index alter
plantarum quae in horto academico
Lugduno Batavo aluntur
, I-II (Leiden
1720).
, the alphabetical index of which is composed according to the principles mentioned by Gronovius: the names of plants are printed in Roman, whereas synonyms are indicated in italics. In contrast, Boerhaave’s other botanical works, the Index plantarum of 1710 and the Historia plantarumBoerhaave, Herman Historia
plantarum, quae in horto academico
Lugduni Batavorum crescunt, cum earum
characteribus et medicinalibus
virtutibus
, I-II (Leiden 1727).
of 1720, contained an alphabetical index in which all the names were indiscriminately printed in italics.
8.
Linnaeus finished the preface to his Genera plantarumLinnaeus, Carl Genera
plantarum eorumque characteres naturales
secundum numerum, figuram, situm &
proportionem omnium fructificationis
partium
(Leiden 1737). Soulsby no.
284.
on 20 November 1736, as can be inferred from the dating added to the preface. In the postscript to his letter of 27 November 1736 n.s.Letter L0109, Gronovius informs Linnaeus that he has received the preface together with Linnaeus’s letter of 22 November and has read through it critically together with Isaac Lawson.
9.
See Horace, Carm. 1, 7, 4; Ovid, Met. 7, 222.
Reference to Aelianus, Varia historia , a new edition of which would be issued by Abraham GronoviusGronovius, Abraham (1695-1775).
Dutch. Head librarian of the university
library, Leiden. Brother of Johan
Frederik Gronovius.
at London in 1744.