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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0243 • Carl Linnaeus to Albrecht von Haller, March 1738 n.s.
Dated 1738. Sent from Hartecamp (Netherlands) to Göttingen (Germany). Written in Latin.

Viro Illustri
Domino Doctori Alberto Hallero,
Professori Gottingensium,
Botanico Consummatissimo,
S[alutem] pl[urimam] d[icit]
C[arolus] Linnaeus.

Accepi et ultimas, jucundissimas Tuas litteras, die XI febr[uarii] datas,[1] sed morbus gravissimus, qui me per sex et ultra hebdomadas vexavit lectoque detinuit, omnes meos circulos turbavit. Ante aliquot dies repullulare incepit sanitas. Hinc discessi Lugduno in Hortum Cliffortianum, ibi ut liberiores haurirem auras spiritusque colligerem viresque.

Dixi Amico meo D[omino] RoyenoRoyen, Adriaan van (1705-1779).
Dutch. Professor of botany, director of
the botanical garden of Leiden.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, quod non negligeret semina ad Te mittere; ad minimum centum species pollicitus est sancte. Regessit post dies aliquot se ea tradidisse WishofioWishoff, Conrad (?-?). Dutch.
Publisher in Leiden 1710-1750. Wishoff
published Classes plantarum and
Genera plantarum by Linnaeus as
well as Pehr Artedi’s
Ichtyologia. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
, ut transmitteret; hinc nullus dubito, quin ea acceperis dudum.
Perlegi summa cum voluptate sub morbo meo utramque Tuam dissertationem, de Veronicis & Pedicularibus, in utrisque, uti soles, Te Virum praestitisti.[2] Utinam haberemus plures eiusmodi studio et doctrina conscriptas! Incipio jam videre methodum Tuam. Addiscam, tentabo et eandem viam, si potero.

D[omini] SiegesbeckiiSiegesbeck, 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.
Specimen Verioris Botanosophiae cum Epicrisi in mea scripta, ab amico transmissum, accepi.[3] Author mihi fuit valde durus. Utinam haec scripsisset, dum primum edideram tractatulum! Addidicissem juvenis, quod senex addiscere cogor, abstinere a scribendo, videre alios, tacere ipse. Quae me dementia cepit, qui tantum consumsi temporis, tot horas noctesque in artem, tales quae proferat fructus; ludibrium ut evaderem orbi! Argumenta Ejus nulla sunt, sed exclamationes, quales vidi nunquam per totum librum. Si respondeo vel taceo, commaculor utrinque. Rationes non intelligit.

Negat sexum. Lascivam meam statuit methodum, quum tamen non plura de polygamia plantarum scripsi, quam SwammerdamSwammerdam, Jan (1637-1680).
Dutch. Naturalist. By his microscopical
studies Swammerdam made fundamental
scientific contributions to the study of
entomology. Boerhaave edited his
Biblia naturae sive historia
insectorum
(1737-1738).
de Apibus. Ridet meos characteres et provocat omnes, an ullus eos intelligat? Terminos artis non novi; judicat me secundum principia Riviniana & sexcenta pessima.

Ut ille me depressit, sic Tu, qui et Doctrina et Sapientia simul inclaruisti Magnus, me erexisti. Horreo tamen, cum nimia Tua in indignissimum accumulata elogia perlego. Utinam unquam locus esset exspectandus, in quo meum testari possem animum, quem erga Te foveo! Utinam non moriar, antequam aliquod specimen Tibi exhibere potuerim!

Uvam ursi C[aspari] B[auhini]Bauhin, Caspar (1560-1624).
Swiss. Botanist and physician, Basle.
Bauhin’s Prodromus and Pinax
theatri botanici
(1620, 1623, 1671)
were important works in the field of
botanical nomenclature.
non novi, TournefortiiTournefort de, Joseph Pitton
(1656-1708). French. Botanist and
explorer, professor of botany at Paris.
certe cum mea eadem est. Folia nostrae per exsiccationem saepe rugosa evadunt, et tum ac si essent punctata. Nil certi tamen de C[aspari] B[auhini] novi.

Pro HernandoHernandez, Francisco
(1514-1578). Spanish. Physician and
naturalist. Explorer of South America.
dare 50 florenos esset occidere nummos.[4] Nec figurae nec descriptiones valent. ColumnaeColonna, Fabio (1567-1650).
Italian. Botanist, painter and engraver.
verba in eo pauca sunt.

Quamprimum reconvalesco seu circa finem Aprilis ego Parisios petam, ut ibi collectanea Tournefortii, PlumieriPlumier, Charles (1646-1704).
French. Botanist, travelled in Central
America and the Carribean. Linnaeus
generally approved of the descriptions
in his richly illustrated botanical
works.
, SurianiSurian, Joseph Donat (d. 1691).
French. Physician and apothecary,
Marseille. Accompanied Charles Plumier
to the West Indies in 1690.
, etc. inspiciam. Jam enim occasio mihi est, forte nunquam postea. Sed Parisiis non ultra mensem dimidium degam; mox Casseliam Gottingamque retrorsum iter in patriam instituam, et tum forte Tibi gratior accedam mense junii vel ad finem maji. Vellem et videre Bibliothecam DisnardiIsnard, Antoine Tristan Danty d’
(?-1743). French. Professor at the
Jardin des plantes in Paris.
, si vivit, et insecta Reaumurii.[5] Jussieuii bene multa rara ex Peru per fratrem accepere.[6]

D[ominus] 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.
Asthmate laborat (vereor vomica!), tamen adhuc omnia munera subit; Academiam vero ob gradus ascendere nequit.

Huc usque dum perveni, accessit suavissima Tua epistola d[ie] 14 mart[ii] data.[ 7] Viciae sunt pessimae, varietates plures ibi, sed obscurae. Trifolia non omnia facilia, generis character pessimus, certe non a figura leguminis vel numero seminum hauriendus.

CliffortiusClifford, George (1685-1760).
Dutch. Banker and merchant in Amsterdam,
Linnaeus’s benefactor. Owner of
Hartecamp and its botanical garden
outside Haarlem. Correspondent of
Linnaeus.
nil rescribat antequam mittat ad Te suum Hortum, quod post 14 dies, ut spero vel summum 20 fiet.[8]

Ero apud Te, si vixero sanus, ad 1 diem junii vel circiter. Tibi debeo, quod D[ominum] LudwigiumLudwig, Christian Gottlieb
(1709-1773). German. Physician.
Professor of medicine in Leipzig. One of
Linnaeus’s early opponents.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
evaserim. Ludwigii aphorismos non vidi.

Si quae dubia circa species essent, quaeque per Herbaria Tournefortii dilucidari possent, vel si quae alia grata Parisiis praestare possim officia, quaeso, moneas, modo libros mecum trahere per longam viam esset mihi difficillimum, qui petrinis onustus sum sarcinis.

Tabulas assumat certo Wishofius. Quamprimum Lugdunum pervenero, de iis cum eo agam. Icones certe habent summum suum usum. Ego vero aliter dixi, quam Siegesbeck mihi objecit, dum de characteribus mentionem feci. Non enim potest icon dari absque figura et proportione, quas notas in charactere generico saepe silere debeo; in speciebus aliter se habet.

Si propriis sumtibus mittas Botanicum in Alpes, certe nullus major est Botanices promotor & restaurator quam Tu ipse, qui nimium laboras.

Jacobus SherardSherard, James (1666-1738).
British. Physician and botanist, brother
of William Sherard.
[9] mortuus est et nil reliquit Dillenio, licet absque liberis decesserit, quod miror.[10]

Datae Hartecampii 1738.

upSUMMARY

Linnaeus has received Albrecht von Haller’s letter dated 11 February n.s., but he has been suffering from a severe illness these six weeks and he has been confined to bed. A few days ago he started to feel better and he has been able to leave Leiden to come to George Clifford’s garden to breathe fresh air.

During his illness he read Haller’s dissertations De Veronicis and De Pedicularibus, which he is very pleased with. He now begins to understand Haller’s method.

Linnaeus received Johann Georg Siegesbeck’s Specimen Verioris Botanosophiae with the Epicrisis on his writings. Siegesbeck has been very hard. Linnaeus wishes that Siegesbeck would have written this much earlier. Linnaeus could then have learnt as young what he is now forced to learn as old, to abstain from writing and just to observe others. All his work has been a waste of time, if the only reward is to be the laughingstock of the whole world. Siegesbeck’s arguments are nothing. But he has never seen such exclamations. It does not matter whether he answers him or not. His reputation will be smeared anyway, since Siegesbeck does not understand arguments.

Siegesbeck denies sexes of the plant and considers Linnaeus’s method licentious, even though Linnaeus did not write more about the polygamy of plants than Jan Swammerdam about bees. He laughs at Linnaeus’s characters and wonders if anyone understands them and says that Linnaeus does not know the scientific terms. He judges Linnaeus by the principles of August Quirinus Rivinus.

However, Linnaeus is very grateful to Haller and hopes that he will live long enough to show that he is worthy of the latter’s eulogy.

Linnaeus is not acquainted with Caspar Bauhin’s Uva Ursi, but Joseph Pitton de Tournefort’s is certainly the same as that of Linnaeus. The leaves often become wrinkled by drying, and then they seem as if they were dotted. Linnaeus does not know anything certain about Caspar Bauhin’s plant.

As soon as he recovers, probably towards the end of April, he will go to Paris to examine the collections of Tournefort, Charles Plumier, Josua Donatus Surian, etc. He will not stay more than a fortnight in Paris. He has to return to Sweden by Cassel and Göttingen and then he might visit Haller in June or in the end of May. He would like to see the library of Antoine Tristan Danty D’Isnard and Antoine Ferchault René de Réaumur’s insects. The Iussieus have received many rare plants from Peru through their brother.

Herman Boerhaave suffers from asthma and cannot go to the Academy because of the steps.

When Linnaeus had written this he received Haller’s dated 14 March n.s. The Viciae are troublesome. There are several varieties. All Trifolia are not easily known and the generic character is difficult. It is not to be derived from the shape of the legume or the number of the seeds.

Clifford will not write until he can send Haller his Hortus Cliffortianus.

Linnaeus will come to Haller on or about the first of June. He is grateful to Haller for helping him against Christian Gottlieb Ludwig.

He wants to know if Haller has any doubts about species which might be settled by Tournefort’s herbaria, or if he can do anything for Haller in Paris, but it is difficult for him to bring many books on the journey.

Linnaeus thinks that Haller will be the formost promotor of botany if he sends a botanist to the Alps at his own expense.

Jacob [read James] Sherard is dead. He left nothing to Johan Jakob Dillenius.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (Burgerbibliothek Bern, N Albrecht von Haller 105.34). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. Epistolarum ab eruditis viris ad Alb. Hallerum scriptarum I-VI (1773), vol. 1
2. Collectio epistolarum (1792), p. 35-37 .
3. A selection (1821), vol. 2, p. 319-322   p.319  p.320  p.321  p.322.
4. Vie de Linné (1832), vol. 2, p. 92 .

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
See Albrecht von Haller to Linnaeus, 14 April 1737 n.s.Letter L0163.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Haller to Linnaeus, 14 March 1738 n.sLetter L0246.
7.
Antoine LaurentJussieu, Antoine de
(1686-1758). French. Botanist,
professor of botany, Paris. Brother of
Bernard and Joseph de Jussieu. Joseph
Pitton de Tournefort’s successor. Uncle
of Antoine Laurent de Jussieu.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
and Bernhard de JussieuJussieu, Bernard de
(1699-1777). French. Professor of
botany, brother of Antoine and Joseph de
Jussieu. Demonstrator at the Jardin des
plantes. Sébastien Vaillant’s
successor. Uncle of Antoine Laurent de
Jussieu. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
had a brother, JosephJussieu, Joseph de (1704-1779).
French. Botanist, mathematician,
explorer. Member of the French
expedition in South America 1735.
Brother of Antoine and Bernard de
Jussieu. Uncle of Antoine Laurent de
Jussieu.
, who was a member in the French expedition in South America in 1735.
8.
9.
Linnaeus means James Sherard, who died on 12 February 1738.