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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0220 • Johann Amman to Carl Linnaeus, 26 November 1737 n.s.
Dated 15o Novembr. 1737. Sent from St Petersburg (Russia) to Leiden (Netherlands). Written in Latin.

Viro doctissimo atque clarissimo
CAROLO LINNAEO
Med[icinae] Doct[ori]
S[alutem] p[urimas dicit]
Joannes Amman.

Gratissimae mihi fuerunt literae Tuae ante aliquot menses e Musaeo CliffortianoClifford, George (1685-1760).
Dutch. Banker and merchant in Amsterdam,
Linnaeus’s benefactor. Owner of
Hartecamp and its botanical garden
outside Haarlem. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
ad me datae.[1] Pro transmissis autem hactenus a Te editis Scriptis Botanicis maximas ago gratias, utque meo nomine similes agas insigni et celeberrimo rei herbariae cultori & promotori D[omin]o Cliffortio pro oblata mihi Musae in horto suo florentis descriptione obnixe rogo.[2] Memini a Celeb[errimo] GronovioGronovius, 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.
audivisse, dum Lugduni Batavorum studiis medicis operam dabam, quot & quantis ille sumptibus, quantaque industria plantas omnis generis et regionis rarissimas in horto suo amoenissimo prope Harlemum colat conservetque. Quantum igitur ex ejusdem catalogo, quem Tu conscribere dicis, ad rei herbariae augmentum exspectandum erit? [3]

Ut video, bilem Tibi movit mea ad Gronovium & DilleniumDillenius, Johann Jacob
(1684-1747). German/British. Studied at
Giessen. Sherardian professor of botany
at Oxford. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
data sententia de nova Tua methodo a staminibus et pistillis sumpta. Lascivam jocabundus dixi in literis ad Gronovium ni fallor; sed vix credere possum Te aegre hoc laturum. Si perpendere velis tantum subinde maritorum acervum uni fæminae destinatum respectu hominum nostrorum mores et leges castitatis vix ullam speciem præ se ferre: Non loquor autem de legibus plantarum naturalibus a summo Creatore sancitis. Ad Dillenium scripsi methodum Tuam in constituendis et definiendis stirpium generibus magno cum usu adhiberi posse; in ordinandis autem classibus vix ullum locum habere. In hac adhuc sum sententia: nam secundum methodum Tuam plantae ad unam eandemque classem referuntur, quae praeter numerum staminum & pistillorum nihil commune, omnes vero reliquas partes distinctissimas habent. Qualis quaeso affinitas, si staminum numerum excipias, inter Valerianam et Cyperum, inter Persicariam & Campanulam, inter Gentianam, Ribem & Angelicam etc[etera]? Perlegi Floram Tuam Lapponicam,[4] multasque plantas ibi recensitas et descriptas reperi, quae etiam circa Petropolim sponte nascuntur. Betulam exempli gratia, foliis orbiculatis crenatis, cujus iconem quoque et descriptionem jam ante duos annos Academiae nostrae]Imperatorskaja akademija nauk,
Imperial Academy of Sciences

Russian. Imperial Academy of Sciences of
St Petersburg, founded in 1725. Its
publications are Commentarii
Academiae Scientiarum Imperialis
Petropolitanae
, 1-14 (1726 -
1744/1746 [i.e. pub. 1728 - 1751]) and
Novi Commentarii Academiae
Scientiarum Imperialis
Petropolitanae
, 1-20 (1747/1748 -
1775 [i.e. pub. 1750 - 1776]).
tradidi. [5] Synonymis Tuis deest: Betula pumila, Flor[ae] Pruss[icae][6] Rubum caule unifloro, foliis ternatis, qui idem est cum Rubo humili flore purpureo Buxb[aumii]Buxbaum, Johann Christian
(1693-1730). German. Professor of
botany, St Petersburg.
Cent[uriae] V.[7] quemque jam ante 15 annos MesserschmidiusMesserschmied, Daniel Gottlieb
(1685-1735). German. Botanist.
Travelled in Siberia.
in Sibiria eleganter & accurate descripsit.[8] Struthiopteris Cordi & Thalii Sylv[ae] Herc[yniae] quae copiose in locis uliginosis circa hanc urbem provenit, est eadem planta cum Filice palustri maxima C[riticæ] B[otanicae] Prodr[omi][9] & Struthiofera Munting[ii] nec non & Lonchitide Norwegica majori Pet[iverii]. MuntingiusMunting, Abraham (1626-1683).
Dutch. Botanist and horticulturist,
professor of medicine at Groningen
1658-1683.
et PetiveriusPetiver, James (c.1663-1718).
British. Apothecary. Collector of
natural history specimens. His herbarium
contained more than 5000 items.
folia tantum fructifera a sterilibus omnino diversa viderunt. Occasione hujus dissertationem conscripsi, Commentar[iis] nostris inserendam, de omnibus Filicum late sic dictarum speciebus, quaefolia obtinent duplicis generis, alia nempe sterilia, alia fructifera, in qua etiam aliquot novae species Americanae describuntur et delineantur.[10]

Genera Tua plantarum [11] exacte ex vivis plantis definita esse, nullus dubito, verum plurimarum character sumptus videtur e siccis tantum, aut ex iconibus et descriptionibus minus accuratis, quales sunt Horti Malabarici.[12] Fieri ergo facile potest, ut non pauci errores irrepserint.

De mutatis tot nominibus scribis Te rationem reddere in Critica Botanica.[13] Credo Te secundum suppositas regulas in Fundamentis Botan[icis] exhibitas egisse.[14] Verum plures forsan istarum regularum non [ab][a][a] : [MISSING] omnibus probantur, adeoque nec mutata nomina. Perpende quaeso, quod si unusquisque tales regulas et axiomata pro lubitu assumere vellet, nominaque plantarum jam nota & optimis Auctoribus probata evertere, illorumque loco nova effingere, quid tandem inde fieret? plus quam Babylonica nominum confusio. Candide & sincere, non animo disputandi aut contradicendi haec scribo.

SiegesbeciusSiegesbeck, 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.
, homo sui generis, criticam dissertationem, qua scripta Tua dure satis reprehenduntur [15] , praelo submisit, cumque desiderio D[omin]i Archiatri[16] typis Academ[icis] imprimatur, eam perlegendi occasionem habui. Brevis admodum est, sed brevitatem, ut mihi quidem videtur, arrogantia & invidia repensat. Idem sentiendum de praemissis huic dissertationi fundamentis botanicis. [17] ,

Ceratocarpum florentem nondum vidi; capsulas autem seminales literis hisce inclusas mitto, e specimine depromptas in ulteriori Sibiria lecto, ubi Cuniculis salientibus longissima cauda instructis pabuli loco inservit haec planta. Proximo vere, si me certiorem reddideris, quid Tibi desit de centuriis Buxb[aumii] vel de Commentar[iis] nostris,[18] forte simul cum Tractatu meo de rarioribus plantis Tatariae & Sibiriae [19] , descriptionibus & figuris illustratis, accipies.

Vale & me ama.

Scribebam Petropoli d[ie] 15a Novembr[is] 1737.

upSUMMARY

Johann Amman has received a letter from Linnaeus at Hartecamp a month ago (20 May 1720 n.s.). He thanks Linnaeus for all the botanical publications he got from him. He asks of Linnaeus to thank George Clifford for presenting Amman with the Musa Cliffortiana. Much information is expected from Linnaeus’s intended catalogue of Clifford’s garden (the Hortus Cliffortianus).

Amman explains what he wrote to Johan Frederik Gronovius and Johan Jacob Dillenius about Linnaeus’s new method of classification. He assures Linnaeus that in his letter to Gronovius he was only joking. He had not expected of Linnaeus to take offense. Amman remarked on the competition of husbands to one wife, because it was unsuitable to the laws and manners of the Russians. Amman was not speaking of the laws of Nature, instituted by God. As to Dillenius, Amman has told him, that Linnaeus’s system was excellent for establishing and defining the genera of plants, though scarcely of any use as defining classes. Amman is still of this opinion. According to Linnaeus’s method, plants which agree in the number of their stamens and pistils, though totally different in every other respect, are placed in the same class. Amman goes on discussing what kind of affinity there is in the number of stamens of Valeriana, Cyperus, Persicaria and Campanula etc. Amman has read Flora Lapponica and found many plants mentioned and described, which grow wild in the area of Petersburg. The figure and description of Betula nana has been sent by Amman to the Imperial Academy of Sciences at Petersburg two years ago. Amman has noticed that Linnaeus omits the synonyms of the Betula pumila of Georg Andreas Helwing’s Flora quasimodo- genita sive Prussica. Linnaeus’s Rubus arcticus is the same as Johann Christian Buxbaum’s Rubus humilis flore purpureo in Plantarum minus cognitarum centuria, which was described in Sibiria 15 years ago by Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmied. The Osmunda Struthiopteris which grows abundantly around St Petersburg is the same plant as the Filix palustris maxima of Caspar Bauhin’s Prodromus, and the Struthiofera of Abraham Munting. The same goes for Lonchitis Norwegica major of James Petiver. Munting and Petiver saw the seed-bearing leaves only, which are totally unlike the barren ones. This plant has led Amman to write a dissertation, which is to be printed in the Novi commentarii, on all the species of Ferns and in which he will also describe and figure some new kinds from America.

Amman has no doubt that the Genera plantarum are determined from living specimens. Yet the characters of some of them appear to have been taken from dried specimens only, or from figures and descriptions not altogether exact, such as those of the Horti Malabarici. Therefore it might be possible that many errors may occur.

In the Critica botanica Linnaeus had promised to account for numerous alterations of names. Amman presumes that Linnaeus has followed the rules laid down in the Fundamenta botanica. Still many of those rules may not be universally approved, any more than Linnaeus’s changes of names. Amman asks of Linnaeus to consider what would be the consequence, if everybody were to lay down such laws and regulations as he pleases, thus overturning names, already known and approved by the best authors, for the sake of making new ones.

Johann Georg Siegesbeck will soon publish a critical dissertation, wherein Linnaeus’s writings are found uncorrect. Amman has been given the opportunity to read it, as Johann Bernhard von Fischer, has succeded to leave it to print at the academical press. Siegesbeck’s work is short, but its brevity is, in Amman’s opinion, counterbalanced by spite and arrogans. The same may be said of the principles of botany, prefixed to this treatise.

Amman encloses parts of a specimen, with capsules of Ceratocarpum, gathered in the furthest part of Siberia. If Linnaeus would like to send to Amman what he wants of the plants described in Buxbaum’s Plantarum minus cognitarum centuria, or in the Novi commentarii, Amman hopes to send Linnaeus some of those next spring, along with his treatise on the rarer plants from Tartaria and Siberia, the Stirpium rariorum in imperio Rutheno sponte provenientium icones et descriptiones collectae, illustrated with decriptions and figures.

Amman takes farewell and wishes his friendship with Linnaeus will continue.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. (LS, I, 130-131). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. A selection (1821), vol. 2, p. 192-196   p.192  p.193  p.194  p.195  p.196.
2. Bref och skrifvelser (1916), vol. II:1, p. 54-56   p.54  p.55  p.56.

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
[MISSING]

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
See Linnaeus to Johann Amman, 20 May 1737 n.s.Letter L0173.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Daniel Gottlieb Messerschmied who travelled in Siberia 1720-1727, was working on a “Flora Sibirica”, but this work was never published.
9.
Bauhin, Prodromus theatri botaniciBauhin, Caspar Prodromus
theatri botanici
(Basle 1671).
(1671).
Novi commentarii academiae scientiarum imperialis Petropolitanae .