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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0197 • Carl Linnaeus to Christian Gottlieb Ludwig, 12 August 1737 n.s.
Dated 1737. Aug. 12. Sent from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Leipzig (Germany). Written in Latin.

Viro Clarissimo Celeberrimoque,
M[onsieur] Christ[iano] Gottl[ieb] Ludwigio,
Medicinae Doctori,
Botanico docenti in Acad[emia] Lipsiensi,
S[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
C[arolus] Linnaeus.

Amplissimas Tuas literas die 30 aprilis exoratas[1] hodie primum habui, ad quas, cum nuper scripserim ad Te simulque Criticen[a][a] : [Greek accusative for Latin
Criticam]
[2] misi, quam cum curru rite pervenisse nullus dubitem, pauca regeram. Ea tamen fide tecum ago, ne quondam mihi objiicias propria mea in literis verba, cum omnia quam citissime exorare debeo curis obstrictus.

Literas accepi. Sed nescio, unde pervenere. Nec adhuc vidi KesselringiumKesselting, Johann Heinrich
(1713-1741). German. Professor of
medicine, Königsberg.
nec librum. Videbo forte proxime. Legi Tua et cum attentione perlegi. Multa meruisti. A Tuis meritis sanus numquam quid detraham. Ubinam satis extollere possem?

Ad Primaria Tua dubia respondi. Dummodo dixi, quid mei characteres sint solae scilicet descriptiones genericae. Tu essentiales quaeras characteres, quos optimos agnosco. Tamen persistere possunt descriptiones. Formam itaque characterum meorum non revoco. Non rejicias, licet ego non semper satis attente assequutus sum florum structuram. Emendabo, dum vixero. Forte Tu felicior in Tuis characteribus. Non nego quis sit. Utinam esses! Forte possent Tibi tot objici, quot Tu michi. Ego non faciam. Nullus norit suos naevos propius quam Author.

Si descriptiones sint mei characteres, utique et persistere potest numerus staminum in didynamia & Tetradynamia.

Situs in petalis certior est quam in staminibus, dicis. Probo exemplo primulae & Auriculae, quas velles, oro, adhuc inspicere et distinguere primum partes corollae. Vellem plura in monopetalis & aliis audire.

Proportio staminum & pistillorum, de qua ago in philosophia Botanica.[3] Forte Tibi placebit, quod nunc minus. Forte cum sapore adsumas, quod nunc nauseam creavit, &c.

Ergo generales objectiones videam rationeque numeri omnia mihi objici posse, quae RivinoRivinus, August Quirinus
(1652-1723). German. Professor of
medicine and botany at Leipzig.
Constructed a plant classification
system based on petals.
. Nullus bonus objecit Rivino numerum. Iste erravit immense, qui scripsit contra Rivinum de numero. Erravit modo Rivinus, dum genera fregit naturalia, in aliis nil. Miror et centies miror, quod nullus ulterius examinavit argumenta DilleniiDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
. Quae responsa sane dignissima scivit et forte facillima! Mihi tamen nil contra D[ominum] Dillenium, sed ipsi multa debeo ob singularem quam mihi gratiam praestitit Oxoniis.

Quod in omnibus speciebus generis conveniant dicta, necessarium est in charactere. Pro modulo meo hoc assequi. Studui quantum potui. Absit, quod vel ego vel alius umquam ullus hoc ubique[b][b] : MS1 [added above the line] obtinuisse credam. Sufficiat, si in pluribus. An Tu me felicior fuisti, perpendes ipse. Ego non Tua urgeo. Non omnia vidit omnis.

Exemplum sumis[c][c] : MS1 <ducas> sumis a Croco. Characteres conveniant, species omnes, non vero varietates. Si varietates urgeas, nullus character verus est; vix erit. Quot novisti croci species. Quid species? Quid Varietas?

In Ornithogalo unico scio exceptionem.

Oritur ex copiosis illis notis non vulgaris confusio. Ergo in descriptione specierum paucae notae allegendae. Videbis forte, quomodo et Tui characteres se habeant, dum innumera inspicies genera Americana a Te ante non visa (adeoque Tuis notis non exclusa a datis generibus. Ergo ...).

Doleo, quod mea nova nomina terreant omnes, praecipue quod Te terreant. Me terrent antiqua nomina absurda multa.[d][d] : MS1 [added above the line] Credas me tamen, quod habeam a meis partibus tot, quot forte alius contra me. Dies determinabit. Miror tamen Te adeo purum virum nec authoritate ulla castigatum[e][e] : MS1 <[illegible]>
castigatum
nolle assumere regulas in denominatione plantarum, quia[f][f] : MS1 <quid> quia nil aliud praeter rationem feceris. Quam[g][g] : MS1 <quem> Quam concipies statum futurum Botanices, nisi regulas assumantur, non meae, sed quae demonstrari possunt quaecumque? Cur rationes nominum non addidi? Quia alio in loco omnium nominum rationes dare cogitavi. (VaillantiumVaillant, Sébastien
(1669-1722). French. Botanist and
surgeon. Professor at the Jardin des
plantes. His theory on plant sexuality
influenced Linnaeus who regarded
Vaillant as one of the most important
botanists.
tangis! Vidistin umquam sapientiorem Botanicum?).

Alsine[h][h] : MS1 Alsine <potest> cum Cerastio conjungi potest. In Alsinastro vero et Cucubalo paradoxon proponis (ex quo Te numquam examinasse Alsinastrum video).

In nullo genere majorem inconstantiam vidistin quam in Alsine & Lychnidibus? Quam inconstantiam ego[i][i] : MS1 [added above the line] vidi numquam, sed constantiam, Tuam legem naturae, licet non ex Tuis principiis genericis nec meis systematicis.

Tu distinguis fumariis, qui mox loquebaris de characteribus essentialibus.

Primulam ab auricula non distinguo, quin observo characteres naturales, licet non do, quia varietates ego pro speciebus non habeo, quia alsinen parvam vidi. In volucro universali destituuntur Primulae flore singulari et hoc certe uti et specie[j][j] : MS1 [added above the line] flore pleno destituuntur fructu. Ergo Tu in varietatibus characteres concludis vel varietates a speciebus non distinguis.

Quot novisti Cynoglossus[k][k] : MS1 [read] Cynoglossi Tournef[ortii]Tournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris.
distinctas species? Si scires, quid species esset, quid character essentialis, quid genus naturale, non mihi objecisses. De omphalode perpendas adhuc (melius).

Pulsatilla cum anemone quaestio, an calyx? An in Hepatica calyx? Reliqua de pulsatillis et Anemonibus non ad me pertinent (video ex hoc errore Te Hepaticam non examinasse).

Asarum sex habere tubas dicis. Ego vero unicam quam certissime, sed stamina breviora. Cur non priora?

In Hyacinthis quaero characterem essentialem. Si distinguis partes corollae, Tuus situs staminum erit facilis. Quod poros melliferos non vidisti, miror.

Tinorum nil est.

Alaternum distinguas Tu a Rhamnis?

Cur Armeniacam ad prunum referam, quaeris, sed debuisses interrogare, cur Cerasum non Pruni speciem feci. Miror, quod Tibi lateat, quod numquam duo distinctae species sunt, quae non differant partibus aliquibus fructificationis.

Tu non comprehendis Tussilaginem cum Petasitide, vide Floram Lapponicam!

Viola, vide Fl[oram] Lapp[onicam]!

In Mercuriali numquam alia quam novem vel 12 vidi stamina, Tu plurima. Ergo Cliffortia[l][l] : MS1 [added above the line] Mercuriali mare vix differre videtur nisi modo florendi, defin. 144, forte[m][m] : MS1 <Acceperis> forte et aliis attributis, positis hic. Nos accepisse fructum ex Africa cum plurimis aliis seminibus puto. Annexis enim est ramis. Iste tunicatus, licet folia ad maximam partem destructa. Iste est Tricoccos et sub calyce. Itaque ullo modo Mercurialis.

Nectarium dicebatur a poetis vasculum, quod naturae plenum propinabatur Jovi.[4] Mihi est nectarium vasculum humorem mellem floris excipians sive eum secernat hoc idem sive solum excipiat. Communiter est pars corollae, licet non raro a corolla separatur. Ab usu definio partes plantae, licet contrarium sentias. D[ominus] HallerusHaller, Albrecht von
(1708-1777). Swiss. Naturalist and
poet, professor of medicine, botany,
anatomy and surgery at Göttingen
1736-1753. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
a figura, situ proportium vel numero. Numquam procedit ullo definitio partis plantae.

Reprehendis me, quod spatham cum veteribus voco calicis speciem et pedunculum istum tum spadicem cum veteribus, cum Tu contrario modo facias. An recte? (Reprehendis itaque Te ipsum).

Si mihi objiciat quis laevissime sanus, quae RivinioRivinus, August Quirinus
(1652-1723). German. Professor of
medicine and botany at Leipzig.
Constructed a plant classification
system based on petals.
de regularitate in didynamiis, ego ridebo, dum videam alium suam propriam stupiditatem indicere. Ille, credo, caecus fuit, qui non palpitare potuit irregularitatem in omni verticillata planta cum omni pulegio & mentha. Miror, quod Tu cures tales objectiones contra Rivinum, qui ipse videre potes.

Utinam Tuas viderem definitiones partium plantae! Utinam Tuum lexicon! Utinam ista ex collegio Tuo informavisses, si quid praestare potuisti ipse, si vero ex aliis habes ea novi.

Non credo, quod aliquis in Germania mea levidensia placida mente excipiat, nisi quos noris. Vidi quanto cum favore mea recensuit illustris[simus] HebenstreitHebenstreit, Johann Ernst
(1703-1757). German. Anatomist and
explorer. Professor in Leipzig in 1729.
Travelled in North Africa 1731-1735.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, quo me, dum vixero, prae aliis omnibus maxime obstrictum tenet. Utinam aliquid in me esset, quo testari possem, quanti Magnum Virum faciam! Credebam antea longe aliam ejus erga me mentem, quam jam percepi. Et si per Te Ejus Gratiam obtinui, Tibi devotas reddo grates.

Interim pauci ad castra Tua abire poterunt.[5] Utinam ne ullus, si malam defendo theoriam! Interim scias me tres habere sat absolutos Botanicos in diversis locis Americae, qui ex principiis meis plantas summo studio describunt siccas et hic Leydani, quod mea in Horto publico tradatur theoria, et in duobus aliis academiis.[6] Scias & me habere plus quam 116, quos ipse novi, qui minimas examinant fructificationis partes. Loquor adhuc in genericis. Classica et mea & Tua & Tournefortiana & omnia habemus. Visa sunt mea hypothetica et nominum ista tam paradoxa mutatio & hic & alibi istis jam placet, quibus magis quam Tibi displicuit antea.[n][n] : MS1 [added above the line] Dies judicabit et futura aetas. Subtilitas methodi meum non destruxit nec destruit & credas me, si Tu vixeris per 10 annos, quod magis quam ego, subtilis eris abque eo, quo jam es, mutatus.

Inconstantiam signorum in summis generibus apud me vides. Doleo, quod Te ipsum videre nequeas et vellem audire unicam demonstrationem Rivinii per Exempla.

Tandem nova genera praecipua mutata nomina illis displicent. Domine, Domine, ego Tua genera non tangam. Ego non duo falsa genera introduxi, licet evitaverim aliquoties centum.

Is ego non sum, qui Tuis incrementum promittere possum. Neque hoc umquam speravi, nec petii, nec desideravi. Ego autem Tuis incrementum absolute promitto et gratulor, quod absolvere tam bene potuisti magnum certe et summi laboris opus.

Utinam potuissem Tecum loqui per unicum diem de generibus et classibus! Vellem certare de capite, quod rejiceres Tua genera, cum video Te assumere rationes et velle sapere, si quae deficerent. Vellem et spondere, quod mea methodus in characteribus non displiceret. Volo discedere hinc quotidie. Sed tenent me et optimi mei amici irascentes praesertim ClifortiusClifford, George (1685-1760).
Dutch. Banker and merchant in Amsterdam,
Linnaeusís benefactor. Owner of
Hartecamp and its botanical garden
outside Haarlem. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
, a quo nollem inimicus recedere. Vellet, quod permaneret[o][o] : MS1 [read] permanerem usque dum impressio Horti esset absoluta, quod ante finem anni vix erit. Meque ab altera parte cogent abire variae rationes in patriam.[7] Certe, quo me vertam, nescio.

In Horto Clifortiano dedi rationem nominum meorum genericorum plurium. Quomodo potest opus (Hortus Clifortianus)[8] sat magnum volumen ad ill[ustrissimum] Hebenstreitium, dum absolutum est absque ejus impensis, mitti Lipsiam?

Tibi adeo disp[l]icent mea nomina. Sed ego spondeo, quod Tu post decennium, si vivas, quam acerbissime defendas in speciebus mea nomina, si non Tua Tibi ipsi adeo placeant, ut ulterius progredi nequeas. Haec sola concessa. Hi limites singulo docto propositi, ut eos transgredi nequeat.

Quaeso, itaque, Domine, meos errores excuses, dum assidua cura nullas intermisi horas. Omnem movi lapidem, ut prodessem utque vel parum proficerem. Alius vidit, quod Tu vides. Si tu felicior, doctior & sapientior in studio sis, sciat et sapientis esse praestare quod potest. Absque arrogantia major fuisset VaillantiusVaillant, Sébastien
(1669-1722). French. Botanist and
surgeon. Professor at the Jardin des
plantes. His theory on plant sexuality
influenced Linnaeus who regarded
Vaillant as one of the most important
botanists.
, si egregia sua inventa non mendis Tournefortii superstruere tentasset. Tu praestes majora. Ego Te magistrum agnoscam; a Te sapiam. Non tamen credas me aegre laturum, quod meos mihi objicias errores, qui sapere semper studeo. Sed duriores conclusiones &c falsis objectionibus minus sapiunt. In hac Tua epistola erat de ornithogalo unicum verum argumentum. Ergo nec ego, ne Tournefortius, nec DilleniusDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, nec BoerhaaviusBoerhaave, 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.
, nec Tu, nec alius mortalium adhuc in ornithogalo verum dedit characterem.

Vale!

Dab[am] Amstel[odam]i 1737. Aug[usti] 12.

Hodie accepi Tuas definitiones[9] a Kesselringio missae & Programata.[10] Gratias persolvo summas. D[omi]n[u]s AndryAndrew, John (1710-1772).
British. Student and Linnaeusís friend
in Leiden, doctor of medicine at Oxford,
physician at Exeter. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
dudum abivit, cui vix quod reddam alterum exemplar.

[address] A Monsieur / Mr. Gottlieb / Ludwig / Docteur en medecine / Leipzig.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus has received Christian Gottlieb Ludwigís letter which he enquired about on 30 April. Linnaeus has sent his Critica botanica. He has not seen Johann Heinrich Kesselring.

Linnaeus discusses botanical characters.

The position of the petals is more certain than that of the stamens, Ludwig says. He wisely brings forth Primula and Auricula, which Linnaeus would like him to examine again, especially the parts of the corolla.

The proportion of the stamens and pistils. Linnaeus deals with this question in his Philosophia botanica. Linnaeusís ideas will probably please Ludwig in the future.

Linnaeus should look at the general objections and regarding the number he can be blamed for everything that August Quirinus Rivinus has been criticised for. According to Linnaeus Rivinus is right in his ideas regarding number. He was only wrong when he broke up the natural genera. Linnaeus wonders why Johann Jakob Dilleniusís arguments were never examined.

Linnaeus says that in a character the criteria should convene in all species of a genus. Ludwig takes Crocus as an example. The characters of all species convene, but not in the varieties. Linnaeus means that in the varieties essential characteristics might disappear. If Ludwig insists regarding the varieties, there can be no true character.

Ornithogalum is the only exception Linnaeus knows.

These copious criteria result in no small confusion. A few criteria should be selected in the description of the species. Perhaps Ludwig will consider the state of his characters, when he sees the innumerable American genera.

It grieves Linnaeus that his new names frighten everybody including Ludwig. Linnaeus himself is frightened by the absurd old names. He is surprised that Ludwig does not want to have rules regarding the denomination of plants.

Linnaeus will state the reasons for his botanical names another time. There is no wiser botanist than Sebastién Vaillant.

Alsine can be joined with Cerastium. In Alsinastrum and Cucubalus Ludwig puts forward a paradox and Linnaeus understands that Ludwig has never examined an Alsinastrum.

According to Ludwig there is great inconsistency in Alsine and Lychnides. But this is denied by Linnaeus.

Linnaeus does not distinguish Primula from Auricula, because he observes natural characters. He never classifies varieties as species. But Ludwig derives characters from varieties and does not distinguish varieties from species.

Linnaeus wonders how many distinct species of Cynoglossum (Tournefort) Ludwig knows. If Ludwig knew what a species, an essential character and a natural genus were, he would not have criticised Linnaeus. Ludwig should keep pondering about Omphalodes.

As to Pulsatilla and Anemone there is the question of calyx. Linnaeus asks if there is a calyx in Hepatica.

Asarum has six tubes according to Ludwig. Linnaeus only knows of one certain tube.

In the Hyacinthi Linnaeus demands an essential character. If Ludwig distinguishes the parts of the corolla, the site of the stamens will be easy to locate.

Ludwig wonders why Linnaeus refers Armeniaca to Prunus. But he should have asked why Linnaeus has not made Cerasus a species of Prunus. Ludwig does not realise that there are never two distinct species which do not differ in some parts of the fructification. Regarding Tussilago, Petasites and Viola, Ludwig is referred to Flora Lapponica.

In Mercurialis Linnaeus never saw more than nine or twelve stamens, Ludwig saw more. Cliffortia hardly seems to differ from the male Mercurialis except in its way of flowering (Def. 144).

Linnaeus defines the parts of the plants according to use; Ludwig is of the opposite opinion. Albrecht von Haller defines according to figure, site of proportions or number.

Ludwig reproaches Linnaeus, because he calls the spathe calyx and the peduncle spadix. Ludwig is himself of the opposite opinion.

Johann Ernst Hebenstreit has favourably reviewed Linnaeusís work.

Ludwig thinks few will adhere to Linnaeusís camp. Linnaeus hopes nobody, if he defends a bad theory. But there are three botanists in America, who describe dry plants according to Linnaeusís principles. In Leiden and two other universities Linnaeusís theories are lectured upon. There are more than 116 botanists who examine the smallest part of the fructification. Linnaeus foresees that Ludwig will come to favour him.

Ludwig sees an inconsistency in the signs of Linnaeusís highest genera. Linnaeus grieves that Ludwig cannot see himself. Linnaeus would have liked to listen to a demonstration by Rivinus through examples.

The Germans dislike the new genera and the name changes in particular. Linnaeus will not touch Ludwigís genera! Linnaeus has not introduced even two false genera, but he has often avoided a hundred!

Ludwig cannot promise success to Linnaeus. Linnaeus never hoped for such a thing, never asked nor desired it. But Linnaeus promises success to Ludwig.

Every day Linnaeus would like to leave Holland but his friends want him to stay, especially George Clifford (until Hortus Cliffortianus is published).

Linnaeus has stated the reasons for the generical names in Hortus Cliffortianus, which he wants to send to Johann Ernst Hebenstreit in Leipzig.

In ten years Ludwig will defend Linnaeusís species names.

Sébastien Vaillant would have been greater, if he had not shown such arrogance and contaminated his discoveries with Joseph Pitton de Tournefortís errors.

According to Linnaeus, no mortal has ever given a true character of Ornithogalum.

P.S. Linnaeus has received Ludwigís Definitiones generum plantarum in usum auditorum and De minuendis plantarum generibus.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. (Private collection). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
[Greek accusative for Latin Criticam]
b.
MS1 [added above the line]
c.
MS1 <ducas> sumis
d.
MS1 [added above the line]
e.
MS1 <[illegible]> castigatum
f.
MS1 <quid> quia
g.
MS1 <quem> Quam
h.
MS1 Alsine <potest>
i.
MS1 [added above the line]
j.
MS1 [added above the line]
k.
MS1 [read] Cynoglossi
l.
MS1 [added above the line]
m.
MS1 <Acceperis> forte
n.
MS1 [added above the line]
o.
MS1 [read] permanerem

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
See Christian Gottlieb Ludwig to Linnaeus, 30 April 1737 n.s..
2.
3.
4.
Sc. Juppiter.
5.
See Ludwig to Linnaeus, 30 April 1737 n.s..
6.
By his three American contacts Linnaeus means James LoganLogan, James (1674-1751).
American. Governor of
Pennsylvania.William Penn´s
secretary. Amateur naturalist and
scientist. Published works on astronomy,
botany and optics. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
, John BartramBartram, John (1701-1777).
American. Botanist living in
Pennsylvania and Delaware. Father of
John Bartram the Younger and William
Bartram. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Johann BartschBartsch, Johann (1708-1738).
German. Naturalist, travelled to
Surinam. Assisted Linnaeus with the
publication of Flora Lapponica.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
(Cadwallader ColdenColden, Cadwallader
(1688-1776). American. Physician of
Scottish origin, botanist, physicist,
politician. Lieutenant governor of New
York. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Peter CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
were not introduced to Linnaeus until later on). See Linnaeus, Vita Caroli LinnaeiLinnaeus, Carl Vita Caroli
Linnaei. Carl von Linnés
självbiografier
, ed. E.
Malmeström & A. Hj. Uggla
(Uppsala 1957).
, 143.
7.
8.
9.