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Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L0259 • James Logan to Carl Linnaeus, 28 October 1738 n.s.
Dated 17mo Octobris St. Vet. 1738. Sent from Germantown (USA) to Stockholm (Sweden). Written in Latin.

V[iro] Cl[arissimo] et Botanico celeberrimo
Carolo Linnaeo, M[edicinae] D[octori],
Jacobus Logan S[alutem] P[lurimam] D[icit].

Literas tuas Amstaelodami 1mo Maij datas nuper accepi, quibus, ut hoc responsum gratum habeas, rogo[1] — Quamprimum de farina faecundante seu semine masculo in plantis inaudiveram[a][a] : MS1 <exaudiveram>
inaudiveram
, ut alibi dixi, experimenta aliqua de re illa instituere decrevi, quibus ex voto succedentibus ea post aliquot annos ex oblata occasione cum amico Petro CollinsonCollinson, Peter (1694-1768).
British. Merchant and amateur naturalist
in London, corresponded with many
scientists. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, qui officiis suis me haud parum devinxerat, communicanda censui. Ille autem alicujus momenti esse ratus Societatem Regiam LondiniRoyal Society, London,
British. The Royal Society was founded
in Oxford in 1645 and sanctioned as a
royal society in 1662.
illorum compotem fecit, quibus demum ultimo elapso anno Actis suis (Num. 440) ea inserere visum est.[2]

At cum in ijsdem ad amicum literis, quibus haec experimenta mandaveram, etiam suspiciones meas quasdam aperuissem, et de rerum naturalium, quae ex semine oriuntur vera generatione aliquanto prolixius disceptassem, sola vero et nuda experimenta mea typis essent tradita. Ego autem ex illo tempore, quo ista scripta sunt, consultis, nec incuriose nec sine ex ipsa autopsia observationibus, celeberrimis illis Plantarum Anatomicis GraevioGrew, Nehemiah (1641-1712).
British. Plant-anatomist and physician.
Together with Marcello Malpighi one of
the founders of microscopic plant
anatomy. Associated with the Royal
Society.
nostro et MalpighioMalpighi, Marcello (1628-1694).
Italian. Anatomist and botanist.
Observed the capillary vessels. Together
with Nehemiah Grew one of the founders
of microscopic plant anatomy.
,[3] de ipsius Seminis primigenia formatione me in pristina mea hypothesi haud parum firmassem, nolens, ut cogitata ista argumentis haud levidensibus, ut mihi videbatur, suffulta, omnino perirent, Sermoni, doctis diffusius familiari committere statui, cum exteris etiam libere communicanda, tecum vero praecipue, qui adeo insignem distinguendis sexibus operam navasses.[4] Ante triennium enim Tabulas tuas seu Observationes in tria Regna Naturae[5] ex ejusdem amici grato munere acceperam, in quo opere egregio sane quantumvis brevi, summam tuam rerum naturalium peritiam, accuratissimam diligentiam et stupendam industriam satis mirari nequibam. Ideoque te scripti istius et arbitrum et cognitorem inter primos idoneum censebam. Erravit autem amicus, qui secretum illud haberi me voluisse censebat. Propterea enim, ut in Anglia, Hollandia aut Lipsiae ederetur, transmisi. Miror autem, vir eximie, te in epistola tua partis istius, quam ego praecipuam ducebam et cujus solius ergo tota a me conscripta est dissertatio, ne vel memineris quidem.

De caeteris mihi dolet me ita comparatum esse, ut votis tuis facere satis omnino nequeam. Tu me inter Naturae Mystas heroa existimare videris, qui tamen rei herbariae, h[oc] e[st] Plantarum Specierum juxta cum ignarissimis sum ignarus, utpote qui rei culinariae inservientes vix internoscam. Hae dotes merum sunt Naturae donum, quas illa invita frustra quispiam ambiat, quod Tu ex propensissima illius indulgentia, ego ex pervicaci repulsa — olim enim non defuere conatus — verum sumus experti. In rerum causis quidem vel investigandis vel conjectandis aliquam, si non operam, at saltem meditationem, cum per negotia et vitae munia satis molesta licebat, haud refugi ut ex dissertatione ista facile conjicias. Frustra ergo a me in isto genere quicquam expectaveris. Est autem hic rusticus quidam, Joannes BertramBartram, John (1701-1777).
American. Botanist living in
Pennsylvania and Delaware. Father of
John Bartram the Younger and William
Bartram. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, a teneris nulla literarum scientia ultra elementariam imbutus, cui tamen nascenti omnia affulserunt sidera, quae harum rerum peritiam afflant aut inspirant. In verum Naturae Mystam ille videtur factus. Ideoque honorario annuo a quibusdam in Anglia generosis auctus bis quovis anno per avia et devia montes et convalles Plantis et aliis Naturae rarioribus indagandis sedulam navat operam; quae omnia, cum repererit, rite composita et digesta, ad P[etrum] Collinsonum diligenter transmittit. Hic autem cum Societate Regia aliisque, LidenioLidenius, Johan Abraham
(?-1768). Swedish. Clergyman. In 1755
minister at the Swedish congregation in
Pennsylvania. Son of Abraham Lidenius.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
praesertim, etiamque, ni fallor, cum Cl[arissimo] Jo[hanne] 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.
, quicum tibi necessitudo intercedere videtur, ea communicat. Ab illo igitur et CatesbeioCatesby, Mark (1682-1749).
British. Naturalist and artist. Best
known for his illustrated work The
Natural history of Carolina, Florida and
the Bahama islands
(1736-1743).
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
omnia, quae unius hominis aetate aut duorum industria rariora in his regionibus reperiri poterunt, si vitam concesserit Deus et nisi Bertramo res angusta domi obstiterit, jure expectaveritis.

Sed, ut hic nostras tui etiam meminerit, si licuerit, operam dabo. Non deerit illi utique, quod probe novi, propensus animus. Nam propter Tabulas illas tuas, quas illi in manus dedi, et, ut aliquatenus intelligeret, effeci, unice te colit.[b][b] : MS1 <omnia> Cum Cum enim[c][c] : MS1 <omnia> plantarum plantarum nomina, quibus a Vobis in arte eruditis insigniuntur, calleat, haud difficulter distinctionum tuarum intellectum assequutus est. Quin imo autor ille fui, ut farinae figurae indagandae in diversis plantis se accingeret, necnon ut de observatis meis in media et posteriore dissertationis meae parte memoratis (nam rem totam illi explicui) experimenta institueret, et diligentius quae occurrerent rem spectantia notaret. Etiamque ut tu, vir eximie, partes istas serio perpenderes et, ut cum ipsis Naturae phaenomenis prout se tibi sistunt conferres, libenter quidem optarem. Nec professione tua hoc ibi visum iri indignum suspicari possum.

Sed satis superque de hac re dictum. Ideo summam tibi et studiis tuis precatus felicitatem jubeo te, vir clarissime, valere.

Ex aedibus meis Stentonae prope Germanopolim in Pensilvania, 17mo Octobris St[yli] Vet[eris] 1738.

upSUMMARY

James Logan has received Linnaeus’s letter from Amsterdam dated 1 May. As soon as he heard about the pollen he decided to perform some experiments. He wrote to Peter Collinson about his findings. Collinson, who considered them important, informed the Royal Society, which decided to publish the results in the Philosophical transactions.

The findings concerning real generation of natural products born from seed, also discussed in Logan’s letter to Collinson, were however not published. After making some observations based on autopsy and consulting anatomists of plants, among them Nehemiah Grew and Marcello Malpighi, Logan has confirmed his previous hypotheses. He has decided to commit these to a scientific discourse, accessable to scholars, above all to Linnaeus. He considers Systema naturae, which he received from Collinson three years ago, a small but splendid work. He admires Linnaeus and considers him the most suitable judge of his work. Logan has sent his work to be published in England, Holland or Leipzig. Consequently, Collinson was wrong when he thought Logan wanted to keep his observations secret. Logan is surprised that Linnaeus did not mention in his response which part he himself finds the most important.

Logan, being completely ignorant in the field of botany, regrets that Linnaeus considers him being initiated in Nature. Logan fears that Linnaeus might vainly expect something from him in this field. Instead, Logan refers to John Bartram, a farmer and acquaintance of his with an elementary education, who is fully initiated in natural history. Given a yearly fee from generous people in England, Bartram travels twice a year to far-off places looking for plants and other curiosities of nature. Afterwards he sends them to Collinson, who communicates the results to the Royal Society and to others, above all to Johan Abraham Lidenius and to Johan Frederik Gronovius. From Bartram and from Mark Catesby one may rightly expect all of nature’s marvels in those regions to be documented.

If Linnaeus so desires, Logan will make sure that Bartram does not forget to send him some seeds. He has given Bartram Systema naturae and tried to explain it; and from that moment on Bartram stands in awe of Linnaeus. As Bartram has learnt all the names Linnaeus has given to the plants, he has easily understood the distinctions Linnaeus made. Logan also encouraged Bartram to investigate pollen in different plants and to conduct experiments on the observations made by Logan in the central and final parts of his dissertation. Logan would like Linnaeus to seriously assess those parts as well and to compare them with the natural phaenomena as he knows them.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. original holograph (LS, IX, 442-443). [1] [2] [3]

upTEXTUAL NOTES

a.
MS1 <exaudiveram> inaudiveram
b.
MS1 <omnia> Cum
c.
MS1 <omnia> plantarum

upEXPLANATORY NOTES

1.
This letter has not come down to us.
2.
In 1726 and the following year James Logan became acquainted with the theories of seminal preformation and aerial pollination. His findings were not made public until 1736, when Peter Collinson published them in the form of a letter Logan had written him, “Some experiments concerning the impregnation of the seeds of plants”Logan, James “Some experiments
concerning the impregnation of the seeds
of plants”, Philosophical
Transactions
, 39, no. 440 (1736),
192-195, repr. in The Scientific
papers of James Logan
, ed. R. N.
Lokken, Transactions of the American
Philosophical Society, new series 62:6
(1972), 79-80.
.
3.
4.
Logan, Experimenta et meletemata de plantarum generationeLogan, James Experimenta et
meletemata de plantarum generatione

(Leiden 1739); repr. in, The
Scientific papers of James Logan
,
ed. R. N. Lokken, Transactions of the
American Philosophical Society, new
series 62:6 (1972), 81-84.
was published in Leiden in 1739 by Johan Frederik Gronovius. In 1747 it was republished in London and translated into English by John FothergillFothergill, John (1712-1780).
British. Physician and collector of
natural history objects. Studied in
Holland, France and Germany. His cabinet
of zoological and mineralogical
specimens as well as his botanical
garden at Upton were well known.
Correspondent of Linnaeus.
, Experiments and considerations on the generation of plantsLogan, James Experiments and
considerations on the generation of
plants
(London 1747); repr. in,
The Scientific papers of James
Logan
, ed. R. N. Lokken,
Transactions of the American
Philosophical Society, new series 62:6
(1972), 84-88.
. This work was an enlarged version of Logan’s “Some experiments concerning the impregnation of the seeds of plants”Logan, James “Some experiments
concerning the impregnation of the seeds
of plants”, Philosophical
Transactions
, 39, no. 440 (1736),
192-195, repr. in The Scientific
papers of James Logan
, ed. R. N.
Lokken, Transactions of the American
Philosophical Society, new series 62:6
(1972), 79-80.
.
5.