Documentation

Letters

-Search for letters
-Search in texts

Manuscripts

Editions

Links

Contact

C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0173 • Carl Linnaeus to Johann Amman, 20 May 1737 n.s.
Dated 1737. Maj. 20. Sent from Hartecamp (Netherlands) to St Petersburg (Russia). Written in Latin.

Viro Clarissimo Celeberrimoque
Joanni Ammano
Professori Botanices in Acad[emia] Imp[eriali] Petrop[olitana]
Soc[io] Soc[ietatis] Angliae &c.
s[alutem]
Carolus Linnaeus

Quas ad me dedisti literas praeterito mense decembris, eas tandem ante duos hebdomadas obtinui[1] , nescio quo fato tamdiu retardatas. Novi Te doctissimum esse Botanicum a longo retro tempore, sed confirmatus magis ex propriis Tuis literis, dum Oxoniis degi, a Cel[eberrimo] DillenioDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
communicatis; vidi enim ex istis Te inter rariores istos Botanicos facile primum esse, qui genera quaeris naturalia. Dolui itaque eo magis, dum ex epistola Tua ad me, ut et ad D[ominum] GronoviumGronovius, Johan Frederik
(1690-1762). Dutch. Naturalist, senator
of Leiden. Linnaeus’s benefactor and
friend. Published Flora Virginica
(1743, 1762) together with John Clayton.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
data, colligerem quantum lascivia mea, quam dicis, castos Tuos feriret oculos; speraveram castis omnia casta! Quod mea methodus parum et minus reliquis huc usque excogitatis valeat, non nego; secula judicabunt! Per bonam & malam famam! Desumsi methodum a staminibus et pistillis, cum tam paucos videram Botanicos ad has attendisse partes, sperabamque me rem gratam facturum, si has describerem partes. Desumsi methodum a staminibus et pistillis, quae lasciva dicuntur, dum alii e petalis et capsula, id est Nymphis & ovariis, desumant; quam[sic] crederem non multo nitidiores esse partes. Desumunt Botanici methodum a fructu seu ovario in plantis, an itaque velles ex ovario in Brutis; nostrum est inquirere notas differentes & diagnosticas, non imponere creatis. Methodum meam numquam naturalem dixi, dabo si vixero proxime omnia systemata contracta. Et fragmenta methodi naturalis; inde concludamus quae methodus maxime naturalis sit; et an Methodus dicenda quae genera contra sensum characteris classici assumat. Sed transeat haec, mea non defendam, judicabit dies.

Ammaniae characterem dedi,[2] plantam florentem praeterita aestate habui; stamina & petala attente vidi; petala in nullo flore erant; dissecui enim calices plus quam viginti antequam explicabantur, cum frustra in explicatis floribus ea quaesivissem, et observavi ea omnino nulla esse. HoustonusHouston, William (1695-1733).
British. Surgeon. Studied at Leiden
under Boerhaave. Went with the South Sea
Company to Central America and the West
Indies.
fuit accuratus, habuit et suos defectus, ut ex manscripto ejus facile perceperam.[3] Accedit proxime ad Ocymophyllum Buxb[aumia]:genere, quod genus dudum constitutum fuit a PetitoPetit, François Pourfour de
(1664-1741). French. Physician,
Paris.
, sub nomine Dantiae,[4] quodque ego recensui sub nomine, ab eodem Viro desumto Isnardiae; proxime dico accedit ad hoc Ammania; ejusdem generis tamen non dixerim. Mitto mea genera, pervolvas ea, si placeat, ut Amicus, excuses errores apud juvenem, qui meliora addiscere cupiat. Alia vice, si vixero, emendatiora prodibunt, ego peregrinans hic ut debueram expolire me non potui. Nomina nova ne te moveant quaeso, reddam rationem facti in Critica mea[5] , quae jam jam absoluta est. Mitto Floram Lapponicam[6] , sed in ea nil tibi gratum fore praevideo, non enim tempus fuit eam expoliendi; synonyma svecorum assumsi svasu D[omini] Dillenii.

Doleo D[ominum] SiegesbeckiumSiegesbeck, Johann Georg
(1686-1755). German. Prussian botanist,
doctor of medicine at Wittenberg in
1716, physician and director of the
botanical garden at St Petersburg
1735-1747. One of the most bitter
opponents of Linnaeus’s sexual system.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
non Tuam sibi comparasse gratiam, quae ipsi quam necessaria judicarem.

Si Tibi superesset specimen cum floribus exsiccatis Ceratocarpi Buxb[aumiae]: unicum a Te exoptarem; si numerum staminum et pistillorum noveris, quaeso indices.

Vale et me ama, sique rescribas literas Amstelodamum mittas ad Georgium CliffordClifford, George (1685-1760).
Dutch. Banker and merchant in Amsterdam,
Linnaeus’s benefactor. Owner of
Hartecamp and its botanical garden
outside Haarlem. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
, Mercatorem celebrem, et eam [sic] habeo certissimas.

[postscript]A D[omino] Sigesbeckio habebis, quae ad eum /EUM/ transmisi.

1. Genera mea[7]
2. Floram Lapponica[sic]
3. Musam Cliffortian[am][8]
4. Fundamenta mea Botanica[9] .

Dabam ex Musaeo Cliffort[iano]: 1737. Maj[i] 20.

[address] a Monsieur / Monsieur Jean Amman / Professeur tres celebre / Petersburg

upSUMMARY

Johann Amman has sent a letter to Linnaeus in December, which Linnaeus only received in May. Linnaeus knows Amman is a very learned botanist and the leading authority on the systematization of plants. This impression was confirmed by Amman’s letters, which Johann Jacob Dillenius forwarded to Linnaeus in Oxford. Linnaeus therefore is very sorry that Amman has been scandalized by Linnaeus’s sexual references in his newly presented method of systematization, and defends his new system. He chose stamina and pistils as the basis for his method, because these parts seemed to have been neglected by other botanists. In doing so he had hoped to make a contribution to science. Other botanists base their methods on petals and capsules, i.e. parts corresponding to the pudenda and ovaries in living creatures. Are these parts really significantly more respectful? Linnaeus leaves the matter for future generations to judge.

Linnaeus has given Ammania its character. After closely studying a living plant with flowers and dissecting twenty calices, Linnaeus was struck by the lack of petals in Ammania. In his extensive studies William Houston came to the same result. Generically it is close to Ocymophyllum and Buxbaumia, whose genus François Pourfour de Petit defined under the name of Dantia; Linnaeus reviewed it under the name of Isnardia. Linnaeus is, however, not quite sure that Ammania belongs to this genus. Linnaeus sends his Genera plantarum and asks Amman to read is as a friend would, excusing the errors. Time and circumstances have prevented a thorough revision, but he hopes to do one later in life. Linnaeus begs Amman not to worry about all new names; he will account for them in Critica botanica. Linnaeus sends his Flora Lapponica, which also was published in haste and will probably be of little value to Amman. On Dillenius’s advice Linnaeus has also included Swedish synonoms in this work.

Linnaeus regrets that Johann Georg Siegesbeck is neglecting Amman.

He asks for a specimen of Ceratocarpi Buxbaumia with dried flowers. If Amman knows the number of stamina and pistils, Linnaeus would be pleased to have this information.

Letters to Linnaeus should be sent to Georg Clifford. Linnaeus has sent the following works to Siegesbeck to be delivered to Amman.

1. Genera plantarum
2. Flora Lapponica
3. Musa Cliffortiana
4. Fundamenta botanica.

upEDITIONS

1. “Ein ungedruckter Linnébref” (1908), p. 24-27 .
2. Bref och skrifvelser (1916), vol. II:1, p. 51-53   p.51  p.52  p.53.

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
This letter has not come down to us.
2.
3.
William Houston’sHouston, William (1695-1733).
British. Surgeon. Studied at Leiden
under Boerhaave. Went with the South Sea
Company to Central America and the West
Indies.
description of Ammania is in the collection of drawings, herbaria and manuscripts, bequeathed by Houston to Philip MillerMiller, Philip (1691-1771).
British. Gardener of the Chelsea Physic
Garden. Corresponded with many
botanists. His rich herbarium was sold
to Joseph Banks. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
at the Chelsea Physic Garden. A catalogue of Houston’s plants from the Carribean region entitled, Reliquiae HoustounianaeHouston, William Reliquiae
Houstounianae: seu, Plantarum in America
Meridionali a Gulielmo Houstoun [...]
collectarum icones manu propria aere
incisae; cum descriptionibus e schedis
ejusdem in bibliotheca Josephi Banks
[...] asservatis
(London 1781).
, was published in 1781, by Joseph BanksBanks, Joseph (1743-1820).
British. Naturalist, president of the
Royal Society. Together with Daniel
Solander he took part in Cook’s first
voyage. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, who purchased Miller’s herbarium in 1774. About Houston’s collection at Chelsea, which Linnaeus acquainted himself with in London, see Le Rougetel, The Chelsea gardener:Philip Miller 1691-1771Le Rougetel, H. The Chelsea
gardener: Philip Miller 1691-1771

(London 1990).
.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.